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The History of Louisiana Methodism 

By Walter N. Vernon 

This comprehensive history of Methodism in 
Louisiana begins with the earliest traceable con- 
tacts between circuit riders and Louisiana 
residents and carries the story to 1986. It sum- 
marizes and synthesizes but also is amazingly 
specific about origins and developments of chur- 
ches; theological developments and controver- 
sies; contributions of people; and the work and 
evolution of youth groups and other important 
church organizations, special ministries, and col- 
leges and other institutions. 

After showing the division of Methodism into 
various Methodist denominations before and 
after the Civil War, the book manages the dif- 
ficult task of following parallel developments in 
each, their interaction, and the long journey 
through several phases of unification. The largest 
of these Methodist denominations, the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, is given a 
major place in the book, but so are the Methodist 
Episcopal, Methodist Protestant, and the 
Evangelical United Brethren churches. The book 
establishes the great contribution made to 
Methodist work in Louisiana by clergymen and 
clergywomen and by laymen and laywomen of 
different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Survey- 
ing the accomplishments of women's groups and 
black leaders is a special feature of this history. 

Jacket Design 

The jacket was designed and prepared by Jack 
Winegeart, who is a member of the Louisiana 
Annual Conference. 




1983 1984 - 1987 

Welton H. Brumfield, Jr. Welton H. Brumfield, Jr. 

Inez Chrisentery Inez Chrisentery 

Jack Cooke Clyde C. Frazier, Jr. 

Clyde C. Frazier, Jr. Alton O. Hancock 

Anne C. Hearn, chairperson Charles B. Simmons 

Kirby A. Vining Kirby A. Vining 

Amy Ward Harvey G. Williamson 
Harvey G. Williamson Norma S. Winegeart, chairperson 
Norma S. Winegeart 


Bishop W. T. Handy, Jr. 
Mildred Nolan 
Bentley Sloane 

Published by 

History Task Group 

Commission on Archives and History 

Louisiana Conference 

The United Methodist Church 

Norma S. Winegeart, chairperson 

Becoming One People 

A History of Louisiana Methodism 


Edited by 
Alton O. Hancock 


Copyright 1987 by History Task Force, Commission on Archives and 
History, Louisiana Conference, The United Methodist Church 

All rights in this book are reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in 
any manner whatsoever without permission of the publishers, except in reviews 
and critical articles. 

Library of Congress Card Number: 87-80770 

Printed in the United States of America 

by: The Everett Publishing Company 

813 Whittington Street 

Bossier City, Louisiana 71112 

2 3 4 5 



Foreword by Bishop Walter L. Underwood vi 

Foreword by Bishop W. T. Handy, Jr vii 

Preface viii 

Chapter I. Methodists Reach Louisiana 

1799-1826 1 

Chapter II. Putting Down Methodist Roots 

1827-1846 28 

Chapter III. Organizing for Ministry 

1847-1861 44 

Chapter IV. Civil War, Reconstruction, and Methodists 

1862-1876 74 

Chapter V. Renewed Efforts Following the War 

1877-1899 106 

Chapter VI. Entering a New Century 

1900-1920 139 

Chapter VII. Bringing Methodists Back Together 

1921-1941 186 

Chapter VIII. 'The Best of Times, the Worst of Times" 

1942-1965 237 

Chapter IX. United We Stand 

1966-1986 284 

Notes 354 

Index 365 



As part of the bicentennial celebration of Methodism in Loui- 
siana, the Archives and History Commission was asked to formulate a 
special committee to research and write the history of our annual con- 
ference. This book is the result of nearly four years of labor. 

From a small and insignificant beginning in 1804, Lorenzo Dow, first 
recorded Methodist preacher in the state, opened the trail of the itinerant 
ministry in Louisiana. He and other pioneers swept forward in ever- 
widening circles until a new empire of faith was established in the bayous 
of south Louisiana and the hills of north Louisiana. This history of 
Methodism records the triumphs and the victories of these intrepid 
itinerants as they marched across the state and established a church that 
has had lasting influence upon the lives of countless thousands of persons. 

It is indeed timely at this critical juncture in the history of Louisiana 
that this book should be published. It will assist United Methodists in 
reclaiming their heritage and gaining insight into and wisdom for the 

Becoming One People will serve to bring before United Methodists to- 
day the great cloud of witnesses of the honored past and, at the same 
time, to call us to make the future an exciting and significant one as we 
prepare to enter our third century of ministry. 

I, therefore, commend to you for your prayerful reflection and enjoy- 
ment this book with the hope that you will catch anew a glimpse of the 
grandeur of United Methodism in the state of Louisiana. 

Walter L. Underwood, Bishop 

Louisiana Conference 

The United Methodist Church 



June 1, 1971, was a historic day in the annals of Methodism 
in the State of Louisiana. On that day the two Louisiana Annual Con- 
ferences of the United Methodist Church merged. This was the first time 
that all strands of Methodism in Louisiana had been in one annual con- 
ference for over one hundred twenty-five years. This volume is a history 
of those different branches, from their beginnings in the United States 
until the present. 

Louisiana Methodism is fortunate in having the Reverend Dr. Walter 
N. Vernon, Jr., to compile and write the story. Dr. Vernon is eminently 
qualified for this difficult task. He has been commissioned to write several 
annual conference histories and also the history of the United Methodist 
Publishing House, which will be published sometime in the future. 

Dr. Vernon had a formidable task. This volume will probably serve 
as a major introductory book henceforth for those interested in Louisiana 
Methodism. He has had to utilize the sometimes limited resources 
available while making sure the contributions of the various constituen- 
cies were adequately told. His labor has been well rewarded by the 
valuable book he has produced. 

It is to be hoped that this book will be read with interest by those 
seeking to know "how Louisiana Methodism has gotten where it is." 
When we read this volume and sense the difficult and hard times which 
prevailed through much of our history, we find it truly wondrous that 
we are where we are. 

W. T. Handy, Jr., Bishop 

The Missouri Area 

The United Methodist Church 


1 he task of researching and writing the history of Louisiana 
Methodism has been a challenging and satisfying one for several reasons. 
I have known many of the leaders of the conference, some for many years. 
Several of them I knew when they were in Perkins School of Theology 
while I was either a student there or a pastor in Dallas; some I knew later 
when I was on the General Board of Education staff. Among these per- 
sons are Paul E. and Mildred Martin, W. E. and Leora Trice, Virgil D. 
Morris, Jolly B. Harper, J. Kenneth Shamblin, Matthew S. Davage, W. 
T. Handy, Jr., Walter L. Underwood, Mrs. Glenn E. Laskey, Curtis A. 
Chambers, Mrs. W. M. Nolan, James E. Christie, Bentley R. Sloane, Carl 
F. Lueg, Walter Lowrey, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Colquette, Jack and Norma 
Winegeart, Donald A. Webb, Finis A. Crutchfield, Noah W. Moore, and 

A second reason is that two of my great-grandfathers lived in Loui- 
siana for a time. James B. Dodd, grandfather of my mother, Mrs. W. N. 
(Fannie Dodd) Vernon, taught on the first faculty at Centenary College 
in Brandon Springs, Mississippi (1841-45), and went with the college one 
year to Jackson, Louisiana. My father's grandfather, William Claiborne 
Vernon, lived in Claiborne Parish from 1845 to 1870, at which time he 
moved to Rockwall, Texas. Both were loyal Methodists. 

The chief research was done in the Cline Room of Magale Library 
at Centenary College, where Carolyn Garison, conference archivist, and 
James Volny, director of library services at Magale Library, were unfail- 
ingly helpful. Rosalyn Lewis, librarian of the United Methodist Publishing 
House, Nashville, Tennessee, was helpful in my research in the New 
Orleans Christian Advocate and the Southwestern Christian Advocate (later 
Central Christian Advocate) and other resources. Roger Loyd of Bridwell 
Library, Perkins School of Theology, Dallas, has also been helpful. Cer- 
tain hard-to-find and greatly appreciated resources were supplied by Mrs. 
Edward R. Haug of Sulphur and Mrs. Sarah Kreutziger of Metairie. W. 
D. Boddie of Shreveport lent his file of the Louisiana Conference Journal 
dating back to 1904, an invaluable source. In addition, Bentley R. Sloane 
provided helpful data, as did Carole Taylor of the Dillard University 
Library and Florence E. Borders, senior archivist of Amistad Research 
Center of New Orleans. 

Unusually fine leadership was given throughout the project by Mrs. 
Jack (Norma) Winegeart of Shreveport, who played an indispensable role 
as chairperson of the supervising committee and by Dr. Alton O. Han- 
cock of Centenary College, member of the committee and a very helpful 
editor of the volume. Dr. Harvey G. Williamson has given good assistance 
and counsel to the enterprise. Bishop Walter L. Underwood has been sup- 
portive at all times. My wife, Ruth, as always, has been supportive and 
shared in the gathering of some of the resources. 

Altogether, it has been a satisfying task. As a result of this historical 
research and these related associations, I have developed a great apprecia- 
tion for Louisiana Methodists and for what they have achieved for the 
Kingdom of God across the span of almost two centuries. 

Walter N. Vernon 


Methodists Reach Louisiana 


Almost certainly the first contact between a Methodist and 
a person from Louisiana was in 1737, during John Wesley's short stay 
in Georgia. He wrote in his Journal for July 9,1737, that he had met "a 
Frenchman of New Orleans" who had spent several months among the 
Chickasaw Indians. 

The two men had a discussion concerning the differences between 
Christianity, a religion of revelation, and the religion of the Chickasaws, 
"a religion of nature/' 1 Wesley had come to Georgia partly to seek to con- 
vert the Georgia Indians but found them unresponsive to his preaching. 
He wrote: "the time was not come to preach the Gospel of peace to the 
Heathens [Indians]; all their nations being in ferment.../' 2 

Even decades after Wesley made that entry in his Journal, Louisiana 
was not a likely mission field for Methodist evangelization. The only 
religious group allowed by law were the Roman Catholics, and it was 
1799 before a Methodist minister was sent to a town on the lower 
Mississippi River. As late as 1785, Spanish Governor Estavan Miro issued 
instructions that commandants were to "watch that no preacher of any 
religion but the Catholic comes into the province." 3 

Methodists Organize, Multiply, and Move West 

In 1784 there were 15,000 American Methodists scattered along the 
eastern seaboard and in eastern Kentucky, the Holston area of Tennessee, 
and the Carolinas. At Christmas of that year most of the preachers 
gathered in Baltimore and organized the first indigenous American 
church. They thus created the Methodist Episcopal Church, and placed 
it under the guidance of Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke. These two 
men emerged from this "Christmas Conference" as general 
superintendents, a title soon to be changed to bishop. 

Asbury was intrigued with the idea of Methodism moving along with 
the increasing numbers of emigrants going westward. He knew that his 
church was well adapted to follow these pioneers. He knew also that as 

2 Becoming One People 

people moved into new territory, they became good prospects for 
Methodist societies, since their former churches were usually not at work 
in the new areas. With the Methodist circuit system, preachers could move 
along with the people and lead them in worship services almost 
anywhere. In those days, they were not tied to church buildings. The 
circuit could be enlarged or divided as conditions required. The Methodist 
system also provided for "local" preachers to carry on much of the work- 
men who were farmers or tradesmen during the week. The lay preachers 
could hold services on those Sundays when ordained preachers were not 
available and could serve as class leaders. 

There was also another, theological factor favoring Methodist expan- 
sion. The early settlers had accepted the American belief in political and 
economic freedom for all and found it hard to go along with the Calvinistic 
idea held by Presbyterians and Baptists that God had chosen a limited 
number of people for salvation. Wesley's emphasis on free will and the 
possibility that all might be saved was widely accepted by Americans. 4 
Asbury would evidently have agreed with Bishop Horace M. DuBose's 
opinion that Methodism was truly suited to America; in fact, "the most 
American thing in America." 5 Methodism's rapid growth seems to 
substantiate this belief. Between 1796 and 1805, membership more than 
doubled, increasing from 56,664 to 119,945. 

Asbury's concern to send out missionaries led him in 1796 to secure 
"a collection to defray the expenses of sending missionaries to the western 
settlements." 6 Asbury wrote, "the whole Western country promises to 
be the glory of America." 7 For this to be fulfilled, however, western 
pioneers needed preachers to confront them with the claims of Christ. 
Thus Asbury transferred Tobias Gibson to Natchez, Mississippi from 
South Carolina. He was an experienced missionary pastor and had served 
in that conference since 1792. 

There has been some uncertainty about when, why, or how Gibson 
was appointed to Natchez. The following account, written by Jesse Lee, 
clears up this matter, but is not widely known. 

Gibson... labored and preached in the circuits till his strength failed 
[in 1799]. He then travelled about for the benefit of his health for a 
season; and wishing to be of some use to his fellow creatures, he con- 
cluded to go to Natchees [sic] off by himself, without being sent by 
the conference; after he got to his destined place, his ministerial 
labours were so much owned by the Lord, that he was satisfied that 
the Lord had directed him to that part of the world. After that he 
was appointed [in 1800] by the conference to the same place, from 
year to year, till he died in peace. 8 

This explanation seems reasonable, especially since Gibson had 
relatives in the Natchez country at Port Gibson. 

Methodists Reach Louisiana 3 

The Natchez Country That Gibson Found 

When Gibson reached Natchez there were no Methodist church 
members to greet him, no Methodist churches in which to preach, and 
no district superintendent to show him the opportunities and the dif- 
ficulties before him. There were indeed both opportunities and difficulties, 
and in full measure. 

Gibson found out rather quickly that religion was not the driving force 
or even a high priority for these people. Furthermore, although the inhabi- 
tants of the area were chiefly Catholic, not even that faith was flourishing. 
Joe Gray Taylor explains that although Catholicism was nominally the 
religion of Louisiana, many of the people there were not especially devout. 
For one thing, the clergy did not set a high standard of conduct. The clergy 
seemed to be preoccupied with getting the best places and the most 
power. Probably most Catholics attended mass, but many went to church 
only for baptism, marriage, and burial. 9 In addition, general conditions 
of life and society were not especially conducive to the practice of religion. 
Holland N. McTyeire, who later rose to prominence in the church while 
serving in New Orleans, referred to "hard, unyielding Louisiana/ 710 

Truly, some of Louisiana -especially southern Louisiana -was not an 
inviting land physically in those early years. John G. Jones, the painstak- 
ing historian of Methodism in the Natchez country, referred to south Loui- 
siana as an "unpromising and dangerous expanse of prairies, canebrakes, 
pathless forests, lagoons, lakes, bayous, mud and water, with any imagin- 
able quantity of flies, mosquitoes, gnats, alligators, and carnivorous 
animals, with a sparse population, mostly of foreign descent, language, 
and religion." 11 

Nor did the inhabitants of Louisiana rank very high in the opinion 
of some of the early Methodist preachers. One such was Benjamin M. 
Drake, who served in Louisiana during the 1820s. Regarding the whole 
Natchez country he wrote: 

The malcontents and desperadoes during the Revolutionary War 
found an asylum here.... There were exceedingly few who cared for 
religion of any kind. They found in the Territory a corrupted species 
of Catholicism and great licentiousness of manners. . . . The rich lived 
in excessive luxury; the middle class devoted themselves to perpetual 
amusements. Parties for dancing, carousing, and mirth of all sorts 
were constantly held from house to house. . . . The Sabbath was either 
forgotten or recollected as a day of greater amusement. 12 

4 Becoming One People 

Gibson Lays Methodist Foundations 

Both in and around Natchez, Gibson preached to small groups and 
soon had a congregation at nearby Washington, where he organized a 
Methodist society. Among the first eight members were two slaves, a black 
man and his wife. He also preached in a wide area well beyond Natchez 
and organized eight or ten other societies in Mississippi. 13 By January, 
1800, there were sixty members reported from the Natchez circuit. By the 
end of that year Gibson, having visited other settlements in a 200 mile 
radius, found his strength ebbing. Nevertheless, he was reassigned, and 
by fall of 1800, the membership had grown to eighty. In spite of his health 
problems, he continued as best he could. Finally, in October, 1802, he 
was relieved of the main responsibility as pastor and given the super- 
numerary (semiretired) status and a new colleague, Moses Floyd. Floyd 
was assigned the leadership— and chief responsibility— of the circuit. Gib- 
son's health continued to decline. He died in April, 1804, and was buried 
in Vicksburg.* In that year, 136 members were reported at conference. 

Gibson's pioneer ministry in the Natchez country deserved the full 
recognition which Bishop Asbury gave it at the time. On October 19, 1802, 
in his Journal the bishop wrote: "I have ridden about five thousand five 
hundred miles; and in the midst of all I am comforted with the prospects 
of the western conference— we have added three thousand members this 
year; have formed Cumberland into a district, and have sent a missionary 
to the Natchez." 

While one cannot document Gibson's activity in Louisiana, it is possi- 
ble that he preached there. In any case, he did establish a base from which 
others went into Louisiana with Methodist doctrine, Methodist enthu- 
siasm, and— possibly most important of all— the Methodist itinerant 

Methodists Confront Catholic Louisiana 

Religious conflict was frequent as Methodists and Catholics con- 
fronted each other in Louisiana. Before Louisiana became part of the 
United States, "The Catholic Church was part of the state and' was sup- 
ported by governmental payments or through forced contributions by the 
citizens." 14 When Catholics lost this favored position they naturally felt 
discriminated against by the state and also felt antagonistic toward Prot- 
estants, who now had a status equal to their own. Methodists, for their 

In 1935 Revs. H. G. Hawkins, Nolan B. Harmon, Sr., M. M. Black, and T. J. 
O'Neil supervised the disinterment of the dust in Gibson's grave and its reloca- 
tion in a concrete vault at a spot beside Crawford Street Church in Vicksburg. 

Methodists Reach Louisiana 5 

part, considered Catholics to be their competitors and at times their 
enemies. Perhaps some of that sentiment went back to John Wesley, who 
wrote in 1758 while in Ireland that most Catholics there "retain the same 
bitterness, yea, and thirst for blood, as ever; and would as freely now 
cut the throats of all Protestants, as they did in the last century/' 15 

An implication of Catholic establishment, namely, that "no public 
worship be permitted other than the Catholic," caused serious 
misunderstanding between Protestants and Catholics. And because the 
Protestants had no church buildings or regular preachers, they appeared 
to the Catholics to be nonreligious and thus were criticized. 16 Roman 
Catholics were not at their best in those years. Dissension over place and 
power among their bishops and clergy did not enhance the Catholic image 
and made them less able to deal with Protestants. In addition, overtones 
from French Enlightenment rationalism and scepticism, promoted by the 
writings of Voltaire and Rousseau, had reached the new world and had 
put both Catholic and Protestant leaders on the defensive. "French 
Revolutionary literature was... brought into the colony, filling the minds 
of the French in Louisiana with the prevalent radical ideas and bitterness 
against the church and clergy.... Men, already having but little religion 
in the colony, particularly, plunged into the popular wave of deriding 
religion." 17 

Methodist preachers, as contrasted to the usually better educated 
Catholic leaders, were more on a level with the pioneers entering Loui- 
siana and evidently had more rapport with the rank and file of the new 
citizenry. Roman Catholics, on the other hand, likely agreed with Bishop 
Luis Ignacio Maria de Penalver y Cardenas, when he charged in this era 
that the Americans were "a gang of adventurers who have no religion 
and acknowledge no God" and "have made much worse the morals of 
our people." 18 A noted modern Catholic authority, Father Gilbert J. Gar- 
raghan, admits that "the state of religion in the Louisiana Territory... in 
1803 was distressing. In New Orleans the Sabbath was observed in the 
Continental manner, with stores, markets, barrooms, and theaters kept 
open and generally patronized." 19 

In any event, as they entered Louisiana, Methodists came to believe 
that one of their major tasks was to proclaim the true gospel as a contrast 
to the errors of Catholicism. John G. Jones referred to "the religious errors 
and superstitions which everywhere prevailed among the Roman Catholic 
population, and which often showed itself in their determined opposi- 
tion to every form of Protestant Christianity.... Their hostility to Protes- 
tantism was almost universal and uncompromising." 20 

Naturally, all citizens of the United States in Louisiana — lay and 
clerical — were pleased when the United States made the Louisiana Pur- 
chase in 1803, and they were again subject to the laws of the United States. 
It also opened the area to wider agricultural development by assuring 

6 Becoming One People 

"the free navigation of the Mississippi on which the livelihood of the 
Western farmers depended/' 21 

Among the American policies extended to Louisiana was freedom of 
religion. Governor William C. C. Claiborne wrote in 1804, "Every Citizen 
of Louisiana will be protected in the Religion of his choice, and is at liberty 
to worship Almighty God, in such manner as his conscience shall dic- 
tate." 22 

First Methodist Preaching in Louisiana 

Among those Americans who moved across the Mississippi before 
1803 into Spanish and French Louisiana, there were undoubtedly some 
Methodist laymen or clergymen capable of preaching. Some were prob- 
ably willing to defy the government's prohibition against Protestant 
preaching and worship. If any of them did, however, they left no records. 
One such person was Adonijab Harbour, a Methodist Episcopal minister 
from Surrey County, North Carolina, who came to Louisiana in 1801 and 
settled in West Feliciana Parish. He received a warning from Spanish 
authorities not to conduct worship services. He moved on to East Baton 
Rouge, and there, in 1808 or 1809 preached what is believed to be the 
first Protestant sermon in that parish and organized a Methodist church. 23 

Insofar as records reveal, Lorenzo Dow was the first Methodist 
minister to preach in Louisiana. Dow was well known among early 
American Methodists. He joined a conference in 1798 in the New York 
area. Although he later became an independent evangelist, he continued 
preaching Methodist beliefs and working with and through Methodists 
almost exclusively. The most common trait attributed to him by friend 
and foe alike was "eccentricity." He even referred to himself as "Crazy 
Dow." 24 One estimate of him in 1859 includes this: 

Awkward and ungainly to the last degree by nature, with a harsh 
voice and no imposing presence; tutored with a restless desire of 
locomotion, which seemed as necessary to his health as to the 
gratification of his impulses, he yet felt the wish, and believed he had 
the ability, to better the moral and spiritual condition of his fellow- 
men. But to do this, he knew he must be allowed to do it in his own 

He had great natural shrewdness, great firmness, and invincible 
energy and perseverance.... He seems never to have attained the 
power of treating a subject methodically, or of pursuing a course of 
consecutive reasoning. Still there are many valuable observations for 
the conduct of life in his writings, and a vein of homely good sense 
and sound morality pervades them all. 25 

Those who knew Dow in the Natchez country evidently included John 
G. Jones, who wrote about him frequently in his history of the Mississippi 

Methodists Reach Louisiana 7 

Conference. Jones called him "a very impulsive, warm-hearted 
Methodist, " who was "singularly pious, self-sacrificing, zealous, laborious, 
and useful as a wandering Methodist evangelist. " 26 

Dow had visited Natchez in 1803 and had cooperated with Tobias 
Gibson and other Methodists. He reported that religion there was not 
healthy, and it was hard to get people to come hear him preach. He ques- 
tioned "whether there were three Christians in town either black or 
white." A year later on his way back to Natchez, he was in Kentucky 
when the Western Conference was "sitting" in Gerizim, near Cynthiana, 
on October 2, 1804. He attended the sessions and later wrote: 

The Natchez mission had almost discouraged the Western Con- 
ference.... However, Lawner [Learner] Blackman and brother 
[Nathan] Barnes [newly appointed to Natchez], finding that I was 
going thither offered as volunteers and fell in with me for the 

23rd. Riding thirty- two miles, [we] encamped in the woods. It 
rained and... we could get no fire.... 24th. Saw one company of 
Indians. 28th. Two of our horses are missing.... Nov. 8th. I visited 
Washington and Natchez.... 25th. [We held] a camp meeting [which] 
continued four days.... I crossed the Mississippi into Louisiana and 
visited several settlements, holding religious meetings. I believe there 
is a peculiar providence in such a vast territory falling to the United 
States, as liberty of conscience may now prevail as the country 
populates, which before was prohibited by the [Catholic] inquisition. 27 

Dow's preaching, as well as his other actions, were somewhat flam- 
boyant at this stage in his career. He also expressed attitudes which were 
in keeping with the new, American spirit of religious tolerance and 
freedom, attitudes which were considerably ahead of most people of his 
day. For example, he declared that persecution for differences of religious 
opinions and modes is unchristian. 28 He also expressed the optimistic 
view that if people were more enlightened they might abolish war. 29 
Nevertheless, he was less than tolerant toward the Roman Catholic prac- 
tices of selling pardons and granting indulgences, and he maintained 
generally a strong anti-Roman Catholic stance. In apparent contradiction 
to his expressions of tolerance, he went to Washington in 1833 to warn 
the government against what he believed to be the plans of the Catholic 
Church; it is not clear what he thought they were planning to do. He 
died suddenly after reaching the capital. 30 

Thus, by this "peculiar providence," a Methodist preacher reached 
Louisiana and began "to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ." Dow 
himself did not record where he preached in Louisiana. But Jones reported 
that Dow went to what was called the Attakapas country, south of 
Opelousas. 31 He usually preached in several localities on such trips. A 
few years later (1816) he traveled to what was then called West Florida, 

8 Becoming One People 

visiting and probably preaching at St. Francisville, Greensburg, Pine 
Grove, and Tangipahoa. He was personally acquainted with Governor 
W. C. C. Claiborne, who entertained him at dinner and arranged 
preaching places for him. He was a friend of Captain and Mrs. William 
Ross. Ross was flour inspector for the port of New Orleans. Mrs. Ross 
was an active Methodist and so was their son James. While Dow visited 
Mississippi and Louisiana frequently and made his home there at times, 
he never served as pastor in that region. 

Methodists Officially Enter Louisiana 

Following the 1804 meeting of the Western Conference, Lorenzo Dow 
guided the newly appointed circuit preachers, Learner Blackman and 
Nathan Barnes, to Natchez and briefed Blackman on the prospects for 
Methodism in that area. As Blackman began his work, Dow was holding 
a camp meeting near Washington. It was the first such meeting in the 
Southwest and a great success. 

Since Blackman was senior pastor of the Natchez Circuit of the 
Cumberland District, he was responsible for Methodist activity across the 
Mississippi River in Louisiana. Several accounts testify that he "was the 
first regular itinerant to visit Louisiana/' 32 He thus became familiar with 
the prospects and the need for Methodist preaching there. Consequently, 
when he went to conference on October 2, 1805, he asked that a preacher 
be sent to New Orleans. Elisha Bowman volunteered to go and received 
an appointment to the Opelousas Circuit, which was to include New 
Orleans. The conference also named Blackman the first presiding elder 
of the newly established Mississippi District, which included all Methodist 
activity in Mississippi and Louisiana. 

A Methodist layman had already played a leading role in getting a 
Protestant (though not Methodist) church started in New Orleans. He 
was John F. Watson, and his diary reveals that he was the author of a 
short notice appearing anonymously in The Louisiana Gazette on April 30, 
1805, proposing that an English Protestant church be organized in the 
city. This proposal proved popular, and soon a group organized and 
arranged for a pastor to move to New Orleans. Since a majority of the 
sponsors were Episcopalians, they decided the church would be an 
Episcopal one. 33 

Although Bowman's appointment read "Opelousas," Blackman sug- 
gested that he start at New Orleans, which he did. But he was not wel- 
comed there with open arms— rather, open jeers. He secured the gover- 
nor's promise for the use of the capitol as a preaching place, but found 
it locked when he appeared there. When this happened a second time, 
he "shook off the dirt from [his] feet against this ungodly city of Orleans, 
and resolved to try the watery wastes and pathless desert." 34 

Methodists Reach Louisiana 9 

Reaching the Opelousas country, he preached to a few new settlers 
who had little knowledge of the Christian message. "Some of them/' he 
wrote, "after I had preached to them, asked me what I meant by the fall 
of man, and when it was that he fell." 35 He reported seventeen new 
members at the end of the year. 

Earliest Louisiana Methodist Churches 

It is virtually impossible to ascertain which church was the first to 
be established by Methodists in Louisiana. Some claims are fairly well 
authenticated; others lack documentation. Evidence is probably not 
available at this late date to establish without question one claim over 
another. We know when certain preachers set out on their circuitous 
routes to preach wherever they could gather persons to listen. Whether 
they organized a Methodist society (the usual name for a congregation 
in those early years) in a particular place or whether it survived or not, 
we cannot be certain in every case. 

The Eden Church history states that by 1788 there was an Eden 
Wesley an society in La Salle Parish. The members were colonists from 
England. Many of them belonged to the Whatley family, which later 
included ministerial members of the Mississippi and Louisiana Con- 
ferences. Elisha Bowman is credited with organizing the group as a 
Methodist Episcopal Church in 1806. The church's history calls it "the 
first Christian Society west of the Mississippi River." 36 Bowman went from 
Opelousas on to the Catahoula settlement and from there to the Ouachita 
settlement. Blackman accompanied Bowman on a similar trip later in the 
year, and they had trouble finding their way through the swamps and 
along the bayous. Incidentally, he commented in connection with these 
travels in 1806 that this was the worst country on the continent for an 
itinerant preacher. 37 

The Bartholomew Church history lists 1795 as the time when William 
Edward Skanes, Jay Philip Stiles, and Peter Stiles came from England, 
via Massachusetts and Virginia, and arrived in Bartholomew, Louisiana. 
They organized both a Masonic lodge and a Methodist society. By 1804 
they had started a building to house both groups and finished it in 1807. 
The Bartholomew history reports the Methodist society was "sanctioned" 
in 1812 as a Methodist Episcopal Church. 38 Jones reported that Elisha 
Bowman visited Bayou Bartholomew "at an early day" (presumably on 
his trip in 1806-07) and received help and hospitality from the McLaughlin 
family, who were Methodists, 39 and so did Learner Blackman on his later 

Opelousas was definitely the location of a Methodist society estab- 
lished by Elisha Bowman in 1806. Blackman wrote about going to 
Opelousas in August, 1806, with Bowman and administering the 

10 Becoming One People 

sacrament of the Lord's Supper in the little society there. 40 It was referred 
to as the "Mother Church" in Louisiana by pastor Albert A. Collins in 
1947 when the Louisiana Annual Conference met there to celebrate one 
hundred years as a conference. 41 

The present Oak Ridge United Methodist Church had an early begin- 
ning in north Louisiana, which is well documented. The community was 
originally called Prairie Jefferson and was settled in 1806 by a small col- 
ony of loyal Methodists from St. Albans, Mississippi, who were seeking 
a healthier area. The largest group in the migration, if not the entire group, 
were members of the Griff ing family. Among these were Moses Floyd 
and his wife, the former Hannah Griff ing. Floyd was originally a 
Methodist preacher in Mississippi but had become a doctor before leav- 
ing that state. During Bowman's first trip into Louisiana, he went to Prairie 
Jefferson in 1807 and organized the Prairie Jefferson Church, which soon 
became an outstanding one. The community later changed its name to 
Oak Ridge and so did the church. The story of that church's beginning 
and its subsequent history are told in an excellent and accurate manner 
by Mrs. W. M. Nolan, a lifelong resident of the area and a loyal and 
longtime member of the Methodist Church. She has painstakingly pulled 
together an amazing number of details about the area's history and the 
work of the church. 42 

When Jacob Young reached the Natchez country in 1806 as presiding 
elder of the Mississippi District, he teamed up at various times with one 
or another of the five preachers in his district. He and James Axley soon 
went on a preaching tour from Natchez northwest into Louisiana, stop- 
ping first at Lake Catahoula for a week at the home of James Bowie, later 
famous for his role in the struggle for Texas independence. Young and 
Axley held a quarterly conference at the Bowie home and preached each 
night for nearly a week. This home was used as a preaching place for 
several years. At Ouachita Post, Young met Moses Hoyd of Natchez, who 
had given up preaching to become a doctor and had moved to the 
Ouachita area. Axley stayed in the West only one year, but during that 
brief period, he was able to erect the first Methodist building in Loui- 
siana. It was evidently on Bushley Creek, which runs into the Ouachita 
River a short distance below Harrisonburg. Young tells the story: 

We made him up some money to buy him some clothes, and sent 
it to him, but he paid the money out for flooring boards. He then 
went into the forest, and cut down pine trees, borrowed a yoke of 
oxen, and hauled them together; finally, he called the neighbors to 
raise the house, which he covered with shingles, made with his own 
hands -He built his pulpit -cut out his doors and windows -bought 
him boards and made seats. He then gave notice that the meeting 
house was ready, and if the people would come together he would 
preach to them. 

Methodists Reach Louisiana 11 

They all flocked out to hear him.... The first day he opened the 
Church-door, eighteen joined.... [They] named it Axley Chapel. 43 

Back in Natchez, Young met Lorenzo Dow, about whom he had heard 
unfavorable things. The two men got well acquainted and soon became 
good friends. Young wrote later that Dow was very effective in defend- 
ing Methodism against the Calvinism of Presbyterian and Baptist 
preachers. "In about three months," he wrote, "he completely silenced 
them... and the work of the Lord prospered." 44 

These various preachers who served as pioneers in Louisiana 
Methodism have left names of persons who befriended them and helped 
them in establishing small Methodist societies. Unfortunately, there are 
no traces of the names of black pioneer Methodist families, but we know 
from pastors' reports in the the New Orleans Christian Advocate* that black 
families were some of the most faithful members of early Methodist 

Louisiana Methodism owes a debt of gratitude to those persons and 
families who supported and befriended the early preachers (for some of 
whom we have only the family name), such as Brother Biggs (West 
Florida), Mr. Baker (Azorial Island), General Wilkinson, Mr. Lum, Brother 
and Mrs. Bowie, Judge Dawson, General Hook, Elizabeth Hook Sterling 
(Bayou de Seard), Judge and Mrs. McLaughlin and his sisters, June and 
Nancy Morrison (Island de Seard), the family of Aunt Hannah Griffing 
(the mother of Methodism in northern Louisiana at Prairie Jefferson), 
Colonel Morehouse (Prairie Mer Rouge), Moses Floyd, (northeast Loui- 
siana), Mr. and Mrs. Lee, Brother Traverse (West Florida), Judge Edward 
McGehee, Mr. Gleeson, James Bowman, Mrs. and Mrs. William Ross, 
Sylvanus Bascom (Ouachita), Colonel Eli K. Ross (Mer Rouge), Major Eli 
K. Ross, Jr. (Bastrop), Mrs. Rice (Attakapas), Mrs. Martha Skinner (Teche), 
Jacob Knobb (New Orleans), Judge Thomas Warner (West Florida), 
Esquire Black, Mr. Caruth (St. Helena Parish), Harbord Hood (Lake Prov- 
idence), General McFarland, Mrs. Trenton, Mrs. Ailes, Patrick Thomp- 
son, Wesley Coleman, James Wright, and many others. 

The Struggle for New Orleans 

We have already noted from Elisha Bowman's experience in 1805 that 
the city was not an easy place for Methodist preachers. Jacob Young 
reported that Learner Blackman "often visited New Orleans" in 1808, 45 
following Elisha Bowman's aborted effort. The Methodists persevered in 
their efforts to gain a foothold in New Orleans, in spite of hostile 

The New Orleans Christian Advocate will hereinafter be referred to as the Advocate. 
Other Methodist papers will have their full titles. 

12 Becoming One People 

inhabitants, wars, earthquakes, and predictions of falling comets. In the 
fall of 1810, forty-three members were reported from Orleans territory, 
but this probably covered more than the city. It also likely included both 
black and white members; black members in New Orleans outnumbered 
whites at times. Miles Harper was appointed to New Orleans in October, 
1811, but Jones found no evidence that he ever served there. In 1812 Lewis 
Hobbs was assigned, but after a few months he contracted tuberculosis 
and left. 

In 1813 William Winans was appointed to New Orleans and went 
there with trepidation. However, he soon found several loyal Methodists 
in the city. Among them were Jacob Knobb, a Prussian tailor, who pro- 
vided the new preacher a room and meals at small cost; Mrs. William 
Ross, wife of the flour inspector for the port; and Theresa Canu, native 
of Santo Domingo, who opened her house to Christ's messengers. Winans 
supported himself by teaching in a small school he opened and served 
as pastor on evenings and Sundays. His congregations were sparse but 
gradually increased. By April, 1814, several influential men in the city 
secured permission for him to preach in the capitol building, and the con- 
gregations increased. But just as he seemed to be making headway and 
gaining supporters among prominent persons, a clever, opportunistic 
Presbyterian clergyman and lawyer undercut his work. In the face of 
declining attendance, Winans considered it advisable not to continue his 
efforts in the city. He soon left for conference and did not recommend 
continuing the effort at that time. 46 

At the next conference, no one was assigned to New Orleans, and 
in the fall of 1815, the same situation prevailed. The 1816 conference was 
highlighted by the appearance for the first time of a bishop. Bishop Robert 
R. Roberts arrived after the meeting was well under way and the preachers 
had given up expecting him. It was the bishop's first conference follow- 
ing his election. His audience welcomed him warmly. 

In 1817 an attempt was made to send a missionary to New Orleans. 
Bishop Enoch George, without consulting his colleagues, had appointed 
William Phoebus of New York as missionary to the southern metropolis. 
Phoebus and his family were with Bishop George at Norfolk for awhile 
and then enroute to the South before Bishop William McKendree knew 
of it. George had promised Phoebus $1,000 for his year's work. When 
it was clear that the money could not be raised, Phoebus returned to New 
York. 47 

In October, 1818, Mark Moore, a local preacher, arrived from New 
York as missionary to New Orleans. Moore was an eloquent preacher, 
and by December he wrote Bishop Roberts that prospects seemed prom- 
ising. Soon a building program was started. Judge Edward McGehee, 
a longtime Methodist, gave time and money to the new effort. But when 
Moore's application for the church's incorporation reached the Louisiana 
Legislature, it called for a congregational status rather than a Methodist 

Methodists Reach Louisiana 13 

connectional one. McKendree and Winans went to New Orleans to help 
inquire into the matter and if necessary to correct it. 

McKendree's solution was to relieve Moore of leadership and to name 
a committee headed by Edward McGehee and William Winans to super- 
vise the building project. In 1819 John Menefee was appointed pastor to 
the struggling congregation, which due to "a dreadful epidemic" became 
disorganized. No other appointment shows up in conference lists until 
1824, when Benjamin M. Drake began a two-year pastorate. After begin- 
ning his work Drake testified, "New Orleans presents a more unyielding 
resistance to the evangelical gospel... than any other city in the South/' 48 
Nevertheless, Drake was able to turn the situation around and point New 
Orleans Methodism toward the future. 

Going Into the "Highways and Hedges" 

Louisiana in those early years had many hedges but few passageways 
that could be called highways. Some travel had to be done on waterways. 
Most, however, was by horseback or on foot. In any case, travel was ardu- 
ous and at times dangerous. But the circuit riders never counted the cost 
of taking the Christian message to "them that sit in darkness." 

Not even the War of 1812 prevented Methodist preachers in the 
southwest from carrying on their regular preaching. In fact, the war gave 
them the opportunity to expand their ministry by preaching to some of 
the soldiers, especially the Tennessee volunteers, led by General Andrew 
Jackson. Learner Blackman, who had recently transferred from Louisiana 
to Tennessee, now came back as chaplain to Jackson and his soldiers. 49 

Sometimes these "good shepherds" literally gave their lives for the 
sheep. The first such Methodist shepherd to do so in Louisiana was Rich- 
mond Nolley. He arrived in the area in 1812 and in 1814 was appointed 
to Attakapas. Bishop McTyeire wrote about his martyrdom: 

Nolley's saintly bearing and pastoral fidelity gained ground with the 
people, but could not tame the ruffian spirit. A sugar-planter once 
drove him away from his smoke-stack, where he craved to warm 
himself. Sons of Belial took him out of the pulpit at St. Martinville, 
and were on their way to the bayou to duck him, when a strange 
Deborah was raised up: a stout Negro woman armed with a hoe 
vigorously assailed them, and rescued the preacher out of their 
hands. 50 

But it was not humans that made a martyr of Nolley; rather, it was 
the cruel terrain and elements in Louisiana. McTyeire continued his 
account of Nolley by telling of his last trip toward Attakapas, starting on 
November 25, 1814, a cold and rainy day. He secured an Indian to guide 
him. Later in the day they came to a stream swollen by the rain. Leaving 

14 Becoming One People 

his valise and saddlebags on the shore, he guided his horse into the 
stream. The fast current carried the horse downstream where the bank 
of the creek was too steep for his horse to climb out. In the effort he was 
dislodged from his horse, but was able to catch hold of a bush and pull 
himself out of the water. His horse swam back to where they had entered 
the creek. 

Nolley then left his horse for the night in care of the Indian guide 
and started walking toward the nearest house, two miles away. But the 
cold weather and his exhaustion were too much for him; he sank down 
a mile from the creek and was found dead there the next morning. The 
prints of his knees were on the wet ground showing his prayerful attitude 
in his last hours. McTyeire closed his account with these words: 'It is 
not claimed that he was strong or learned or eloquent. He was not.... 
It is the evident sincerity, the home appeal, the word commended to the 
conscience of the hearer, the peroration all quivering with feeling... that 
constitutes the preacher's power." 51 Nolley had written a long letter from 
Attakapas Circuit to his brothers in Virginia on December 10, 1813, urg- 
ing them to remain true to their Christian commitments. This original 
letter is in the Louisiana Conference archives at Centenary College Library. 

Growing Slowly— But Steadily 

In these years, Methodist influence was indeed growing and 
spreading into new parts of Louisiana— but slowly. Methodist societies 
gradually increased their membership, and new ones were established. 
Consequently, in 1810 the Opelousas Circuit was divided into Attakapas 
Circuit (to the south) and Rapides Circuit (to the north), Ouachita Cir- 
cuit remaining somewhat as it had been. Presiding Elder Miles Harper 
changed several of the appointments made at the annual conference in 
Kentucky. Harper "placed his workers where men and missions fitted 
together," as Ray Holder puts it. 52 

The number of circuits fluctuated in the early years. In 1811, to the 
three circuits of 1810 were added a fourth, New Orleans, which was listed 
the next year as part of the Mississippi District. The Louisiana District 
had no presiding elder in 1813, and no Ouachita Circuit was listed because 
there was no preacher available to send there. New Orleans was again 
listed in the Mississippi District, but it was omitted after this for several 

Preaching began in St. Martinville, Alexandria, Washington Parish, 
Plaquemine, Monroe, Lake Providence, Prairie Mer Rouge, Prairie Jef- 
ferson, St. Helena Parish, Jena, and New Iberia in the next few years. 

The Methodist effort in northwest Louisiana received capable and 
highly experienced help from Arkansas in the person of William Steven- 
son, founder of Arkansas and northeast Texas Methodism. Stevenson 

Methodists Reach Louisiana 15 

maintained his home and headquarters near Washington, Arkansas. He 
had learned that new settlers were moving into the region around Natchi- 
toches and undertook a missionary journey to them about December, 
1824. He made several more trips in 1825. He organized several Methodist 
societies in north Louisiana between the Red and Ouachita Rivers and 
enrolled about forty members altogether. In societies he formed south 
and west of Natchitoches, there were about thirty members. He virtually 
admitted he was "poaching" on Louisiana Methodist territory. 53 

Stevenson decided to move to Claiborne Parish about 1826 and began 
at once vigorous efforts to strengthen Methodist activity there. A well- 
attended camp meeting occurred in 1826 involving John G. Jones (then 
pastor of Ouachita Circuit), Stevenson, and others. Jones reported that 
after the meeting, he formed a circuit with eight preaching places and 
named Stevenson as pastor of this new, Natchitoches Circuit. Steven- 
son transferred his membership to the Mississippi Conference. 54 Within 
about ten years of the formation of Stevenson's circuit, the town of Natchi- 
toches had a Methodist congregation large and vigorous enough to secure 
property and begin construction of a church. 

A Methodist in the area at that time was Thomas Gray, who lived 
near Minden. He was reported to be "a zealous Methodist and seemed 
to think, from the way he talked, that Methodistism (sic) was first and 
the Bible second. But religion was at a mighty low ebb in those days. Meat, 
bread, and shelter were the main consideration." 55 

Other early staunch Methodist residents in north Louisiana included 
Abraham Pipes and John Murrell. Pipes settled near the present town 
of Choudrant about 1812. He was a farmer but also acted as a book agent 
for the Methodist Church and in later years became a minister and 
established several congregations. Murrell came from Smith County, Ten- 
nessee (the earlier home of William Stevenson), settling in 1818 between 
Minden and Homer. His home was the site of the first religious service 
in the area, which Stevenson presumably held. 56 

Membership tended to shift up and down because of aggressive or 
not-so-aggressive efforts of preachers, deadly epidemics, and migrating 
populations. Rapides and Ouachita (often spelled Washita) circuits each 
had twelve white members in 1813. After some years of Methodist 
preaching in Monroe, the first Methodist society was organized there in 
1826. Attakapas had, for then, a booming sixty-five whites and ten blacks. 
Growth in the churches was slow and followed agonizing efforts. The 
membership in Rapides from 1818 to 1823 was chiefly in the twenties for 
whites, but grew to forty-five whites and ninety-four blacks in 1824 and 
then equalled Ouachita with 182 whites and 115 blacks in 1827. Attakapas 
went up and down across these years— reaching ninety whites and 
twenty-six blacks in 1819 and dropping to fifty and twenty in 1821. By 
1825 it had climbed to ninety-seven whites and fifty blacks. Also in 1827 
two new circuits were recorded -Lake Providence with nine white 

16 Becoming One People 

members, and Natchitoches with a resounding white membership of 150 
but only two blacks. Thus by 1828 the membership reported in Louisiana 
was 618 whites artd 316 blacks compared to eighty-nine whites and ten 
blacks in 1813. 57 

Over and above the numerical gains was the freeing of persons from 
the sins and weaknesses that beset them. An example was Mike Hooter, 
born on the Red River in 1791, either in Catahoula or Rapides Parish. 
He "had become addicted to drinking, and when drunk was exceedingly 
frolicsome and noisy.... He [was] almost certain to go to a drunkard's 
grave and a drunkard's hell/' Jones tells us. He was soundly converted, 
brought into the Methodist Church, and guided into becoming a very 
active member who readily led in singing, praying, and exhorting. When 
he was told that some folks were asking why he was so noisy about his 
religion, he replied: 

When I was serving a hard master and wearing a galling yoke, with 
no bright future before me, I used to go to Rodney and get drunk; 
then mount my horse and charge round generally; hooting like an 
owl, screaming like a panther, or yelling like a savage, making more 
noise than anybody else, so that people along the road could tell when 
I was going home drunk; but now I am serving a better Master, wear- 
ing an easier yoke, carrying a light burden, with a bright and glorious 
future before me, and why should I not be as zealous and noisy in 
the service of my blessed Savior as I used to be in the service of the 
devil? 58 

And there were other ways in which ministers mitigated unwhole- 
some situations. Jones wrote about cases he found in northern Louisiana 
of unwed couples living together. He was able to prevail on some to marry 
and others to separate. 

The two chief methods of winning converts and new church members 
were camp meetings and revivals. Camp meetings were gatherings of 
families from a somewhat limited area, meeting at a central place where 
they could camp and attend preaching services -morning, afternoon, and 
night— and prayer meetings. They normally ran for a week or ten days. 
There was also much socializing during the time. Lorenzo Dow was an 
especially popular camp meeting preacher. 

Revivals were usually held in a given church for a single community, 
and preaching was held mornings and nights. Some preachers were more 
effective than others in this work and naturally were much in demand. 
Often these revivals resulted in decisions of young men to enter the 
ministry. In later years almost every church held an annual revival, often 
with a visiting preacher. Usually revival services were held in connec- 
tion with quarterly and annual conferences, but sometimes separately. 

Methodists Reach Louisiana 17 

What Some Early Preachers Were Like 

In addition to a self-sacrificing spirit, these early preachers had the 
normal characteristics of any cross section of churchmen of that day. 
Presiding Elder Jacob Young, for example, was frank in his private evalua- 
tion of preacher-colleagues who served the Methodist cause with him in 
the territories. One he called "quite timid/' another received little atten- 
tion from those he met; another was pleasant but had a small intellect; 
Anthony Houston was "slow of speech" but had a "powerful intellect;" 
James Axley was a "superior man... with excellent gifts." 59 

The Western Conference was quite frank in its evaluation of the men 
who applied for membership. Jacob Young spoke plainly in evaluating 
his associates in Louisiana and Mississippi, and earlier when he had joined 
the conference, he too was so evaluated: he "has been in some measure 
useful; his character stands fair." James Axley, whom Young considered 
"superior," the conference thought had "small gifts" when he first joined. 
The records ranked many of these early preachers as the conference did 
William Patterson: "a man of little education and small abilities, 
but... pious, zealous, and useful." 60 

The conference itinerant system proved to be an excellent training 
ground for the kind of preachers needed then, and Louisiana was con- 
sidered the best training place for young preachers in the conference. "The 
young men of the conference, as soon as they acquired a short experience 
in the itinerancy, were all expected to serve a year or two west of the 
Mississippi River. . . . We called Western Louisiana the college of our Con- 
ference, where our undergraduates were sent to learn by experience how 
to 'endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ/" 61 

These men were not polished and possessed few social graces. Peter 
Cartwright told about a time when he and James Axley were dining at 
the home of Governor Tiffin of Ohio. When Axley "had finished eating 
the meat from the unjointed leg of chicken, he whistled to the family dog 
and threw the bone on the floor. . . . All the preachers, however, were not 
as crude as Axley, and he had many sterling qualities which made him 
one of the most useful and effective of the frontier preachers." 62 Soon 
after this incident, he served on the Louisiana Circuit. 

Francis Asbury and other early Methodist preachers were not polished 
or formally educated, but they were effective preachers. Even though they 
were not accomplished in "book learning," they nevertheless had com- 
mon sense and knew life as it was lived in their day, just as Abraham 
Lincoln did. It is certainly accurate to say that Asbury and most Methodist 
preachers of the time did not attend college, but it is not accurate to say 
they were uneducated. Circuit riders had access to at least a few books, 
and they got the most out of them. 63 William Warren Sweet described 
them as pulpiteers. He pointed out that some of them had the reputa- 
tion of delivering sermons which were wild, incoherent, and unappealing 

18 Becoming One People 

for thinking people. This may have been true for a few, Sweet judged, 
but it was not generally the case. They were often noisy and vigorous, 
but they had respect for the proper standards of public worship and did 
not approve boisterous sermons. 64 

One of their chief sermon topics dealt with differences between 
Methodists and Baptists. Methodist preachers disagreed strongly with 
the Baptists on the proper mode of baptism. Peter Cartwright, who never 
served as pastor in Louisiana but who went there as a chaplain to Andrew 
Jackson's forces in the War of 1812, quipped that the Baptists "made so 
much ado about baptism by immersion, that the uninformed would sup- 
pose that heaven was an island and there was no way to get there but 
by diving or swimming/' 65 

Obviously, the early preachers in Louisiana were made in different 
molds. Bishop McTyeire described three of them thus: 

While Richmond Nolley persuaded sinners and Lewis Hobbs wept 
over them, Thomas Griffin made them quail and shrink, and hide 
their faces in fear and shame. ... He would "get on the sinner's track," 
as he phrased it, and press him close. . . . His language was often more 
forcible than elegant. The presumptuous sinner was "one of your 
gospel-slighting, heaven-neglecting, God-provoking, devil-daring, 
hell-deserving rebels against the majesty of the universe." 66 

But these early preachers had one characteristic in common: they were 
self-sacrificing, devoted men. They had models for this spirit in their 
leaders. At the Western Conference session in September, 1806, Bishop 
Asbury found that many of the preachers were sorely in need of finan- 
cial help. Consequently, he "parted with" his watch, his coat, and his 
shirt in order to help them a little. We presume he had an extra coat and 
shirt! Asbury also noted at the same point in his Journal that "The 
Mississippi missionary preachers could not be spared, they thought, from 
their work, and therefore did not come" to conference. 67 They probably 
also could not spare the money for the trip, small as that cost was. 

Numerous individual examples of this sacrificial spirit could be men- 
tioned, but one will suffice. Thomas Lasley, writing later about one occa- 
sion during his two years in Louisiana, remembered that he was 

far from home, a stranger in a strange land, in the very midst of an 
ugly swamp, no human help to afford relief.... For a few moments 
I almost despaired, but throwing myself on my knees before God, 
I committed my cause into his hands.... 

In this work I continued until the latter end of June following; 
and here I most gladly would have spent my days, laboring and suf- 
fering the Louisiana people. But the Presiding Elder had written to 
me that I was to leave. My resources for support were all exhausted, 
my clothing literally worn out, and I was compelled to go. ... I closed 

Methodists Reach Louisiana 19 

my labors and took my final leave of Louisiana.... Suffice it to say, 
that I went there expecting to suffer, and that I found the grace of 
God sufficient for me— and to him be all the glory. 68 

Special Problems of Preachers— and People 

There were many problems that beset Methodist preachers and peo- 
ple in these early years. Getting together enough money to keep the 
preachers going was not a unique problem in Louisiana, but general 
among all circuit riders. The stewards assessed societies for the necessary 
funds. We have information on the amount one circuit in the conference 
paid for salaries and other expenses and the sources of the required funds. 
For one quarter year period, the presiding elder was due $38.00 and the 
preacher $50.20. Rocky Spring was to provide 1,400 pounds of seed cot- 
ton at $2.50 per 100 lbs; Hicks Class, 400 lbs; Redlick Class, 1,100 lbs.; 
Hopewell, 870 lbs. of ginned cotton. The currency in those days was 
almost entirely receipts received from the ginner, and this could be used 
to make purchases at the village store. Preachers made most of their pur- 
chases with these gin receipts. 69 

Another difficulty for these preachers was trying to find adequate 
arrangements for living quarters. Not a parsonage existed in the con- 
ference before 1812, and this created serious problems. Married preachers 
would either settle their families on small farms which they bought or 
provide shelter for their wives and children by buying some old cabin 
and repairing it by their own labor. 70 

This problem was not really addressed for a number of years, but 
eventually almost every pastoral charge owned and maintained a house 
for its minister. Methodist preachers were originally discouraged from 
marrying, but gradually this policy was dropped. The situation of Ashley 
Hewitt is illustrative. He spent several years in Louisiana as pastor of 
"Washita" Circuit and in 1817 also as presiding elder of the Louisiana 
District. "Having married Miss Lucretia Barlow, of Prairie Mer Rouge, 
Washita [sic] Parish, and no provision being made in Louisiana in those 
days for the families of traveling preachers, at the end of the year he 
located, but returned at the next conference, and was again placed on 
the Louisiana District, and also in charge of Attakapas Circuit." 71 

The peculiar health problems in New Orleans created distinct dif- 
ficulties for the conference and its members, as revealed in the cases of 
Elijah Steele and Peyton S. Greaves. Greaves had gone to New Orleans 
in 1827-28 and had achieved unusual success in his ministry. When the 
annual yellow fever epidemic came in the summer, he made a long visit 
to relatives in Mississippi and Alabama. He was seen by some as neglect- 
ing his duty to stay and minister to his flock, some of whom may have 
been victims of the disease. While serving as pastor a few years later, 

20 Becoming One People 

Steele, by contrast, stayed in the city during the annual epidemic, visited 
the sick, and buried the dead until he himself died a victim of the fever. 
Not only was Greaves judged negligent in his pastoral duties, he was 
also charged with carelessness in handling church funds and sent to a 
smaller appointment. He eventually left the ministry. Since a certain 
amount of immunity to the fever was built up in a person after a few 
years residence in New Orleans, the General Conference voted to allow 
the pastor in New Orleans to stay longer than the stipulated limit of two 
years, trusting that some immunity would be achieved. 72 

Sometimes the preachers brought trouble on themselves by not exer- 
cising good judgment and self-discipline. Many of them were fairly new 
to the ministry. Sometimes their actions called for reprimand or even 
stronger discipline by the conference. For example, Miles Harper was cen- 
sured by the conference for maladministration, following which Bishop 
Robert R. Roberts gave him an admonition— "tenderly given and meekly 
received." Zechariah Williams admitted he "had thoughtlessly been led 
into some indiscretions," and he was dropped from membership. In addi- 
tion, several young ministers were dropped from the conference because 
they had violated a regulation prohibiting marriage until they had served 
on trial for four years, but eventually this regulation was dropped. 73 

There was one young preacher whose deacon's orders were rescinded 
because he had married "an irreligious woman," who was described as 
"not a member of the church and said to be rather gay and fashionable 
for a minister's wife." 74 

Preachers themselves, however, were now dressing more fashionably 
than their predecessors. At the 1826 conference, meeting in Tuscaloosa, 
Alabama, Bishop Robert R. Roberts and Joshua Soule were present. Both 
wore short trousers, knee buckles, and long stockings, as well as the 
"glorious old round-breasted coat with its swallow-forked tail." But some 
of the younger preachers were adopting the neat-fitting gentleman's long 
frock coat, which eventually won out in popularity. 75 

During the 1820s there was growing pressure in some areas of 
Methodism for lay persons to be allowed membership in annual and 
general conferences. There was evidently little such sentiment in Loui- 
siana and Mississippi. John G. Jones attributes this to the "sound judg- 
ment and conservative spirit" of the leaders in those areas. He also com- 
mented: "The time had not then come for the introduction of laymen into 
the Annual and General Conference." 76 This movement would result in 
a split in Methodism and the formation of the Methodist Protestant 
Church in 1830. 

During these years some denominations forbade their members and 
ministers to belong to such fraternal groups as the Masonic Lodge. The 
conference leaders in Louisiana/Mississippi took the position that all they 
"had any right to demand of... members or ministers was to live consis- 
tently with their church and ministerial vow; and that while doing this, 

Methodists Reach Louisiana 21 

if it was their will and pleasure to become members of any society (either 
secret or otherwise) organized for the promotion of morality, intelligence, 
and benevolence, we had no right to molest them for it." 77 

Methodist Preaching Appeals to Blacks 

Black people were readily attracted to Methodism in Louisiana. The 
records show that in some cases black members outnumbered whites in 
the Methodist societies. For example, in 1824 at McGehee's Chapel in New 
Orleans there were about twenty-five white members and about sixty 
blacks. On Attakapas Circuit black members outnumbered whites by fifty 
to twenty-seven in 1823; on Rapides Circuit there were fifty-two blacks 
to twenty-eight whites in 1824 and the next year ninety-four blacks to 
forty-five whites. 

In 1820 a Methodist missionary society in New York sent Ebenezer 
Brown to New Orleans to preach to the French, but he seems also to have 
ministered to those blacks, probably the French speaking ones, who called 
themselves Creoles. His efforts were less than successful, and even though 
he won the gratitude of some blacks, he returned to the New York con- 
ference. 78 

In some places, such as New Orleans, Methodist services for blacks 
were sometimes held in warehouses or shops, but in most cases were 
held in the same places as for whites. Blacks and whites worshipped 
together in a building on Gravier Street (formerly a stable), which 
Methodists had secured for their services. When they attended services 
together, however, they usually sat in separate parts of the congregation. 
Black local preachers were used and reported to be loyal and effective 
in telling the story of Jesus Christ. 

In 1823 the conference appointed Ashley Hewitt as conference mis- 
sionary, with part of his task being the recruitment of more blacks to 
Methodist membership. By the end of the year, black membership had 
increased by 432; white membership had gained only 250. Of course, 
every circuit rider was charged with ministering to both black and white 
and, where present, to French and Spanish speaking persons. Some 
preachers were more effective than others in winning black members, 
of course, and these were assigned to areas where there were large 
numbers of slaves. In Louisiana, men such as John R. Lambuth, ancestor 
of the well-known overseas missionaries, J. W. and Walter R. Lambuth, 
and William Venables, a local preacher in St. Helena Parish, were very 
effective in appealing to blacks. 

One of the most beloved preachers to the slaves was Daniel DeVinne, 
who opposed slavery and ministered loyally to slaves. In 1822 he ended 
his pastorate at St. Mary Parish Courthouse at Franklin. As he was clos- 
ing his farewell sermon, two black women presented him with fifty cents 

22 Becoming One People 

as a love offering. "It was small/' they said, "but they wanted to do what 
they could." And he never forgot it. 79 

Emancipation Sentiment in the Western Conference 

Not long after Methodist preachers arrived in Louisiana and Missis- 
sippi, the immorality of slavery in America became an issue. The 
Methodist Church from its beginning was opposed to slavery and had 
devoted considerable time and legislation to spelling out its position. In 
1784 the "Christmas Conference"— at which the denomination was 
organized— adopted a regulation requiring Methodists to emancipate all 
their slaves within twelve months of receiving notice from the presiding 
elder to do so. A few years of grace could be allowed for this action, 
depending on the age of the slave. 80 

The regulation was never fully enforced, and by early 1800 many 
Methodist planters and large landholders were slave owners. This was 
especially true in the South, where agriculture was adapted to and seemed 
to call for slave labor. Even when there were attempts to apply the regula- 
tion, the demand for emancipation was rarely applied to laymen who 
owned slaves, but only to the preachers. 

For the next forty years, wherever Methodists of the North and South 
met together, they first discussed and pled with each other and later cen- 
sured and denounced each other, over slavery. This encounter of Loui- 
siana and northern Methodists took place in the Western Conference, 
which assigned Louisiana its preachers. In 1805 the conference included 
both northern and southern preachers and in that year investigated a 
charge that one of the preachers had said that masters ought not to cor- 
rect their slaves. In 1806 Bishop McKendree reported to the conference 
that he had advised a preacher in South Carolina to emancipate his two 
slaves. In 1808 the Western Conference "made a regulation... that no 
member of society, or preacher, should sell or buy a slave unjustly, inhu- 
manly, or covetously.... Where the guilt was proved, the offender would 
be expelled." In 1810 the conference upheld a quarterly conference that 
had expelled a member "for purchasing a Negro woman and child with 
speculative motives." In 1811 the conference questioned Samuel Sellers 
for owning a fourteen year old black boy. Sellars was allowed to retain 
ownership until the boy became twenty- two. 81 

Some ministers who served in Louisiana and Mississippi were from 
the North and opposed slavery. One of these, Jacob Young, was an 
avowed though not a belligerent abolitionist. Though he praised Learner 
Blackman for his heroic work and for loving both the slave and the 
slaveholder, he predicted that "slavery will continue to give us trouble 
while there is a slaveholder in the Church." He referred to one wealthy 
man in Mississippi as "very pious, although he was a slaveholder." 82 

Methodists Reach Louisiana 23 

While the preachers in Louisiana did not consider it practical, 
desirable, or biblical to oppose the system of slavery, they all tried ear- 
nestly to minister to the slaves. The efforts of Daniel De Vinne during 
his two years (1819-20) at Attakapas are typical. 

It was his custom to have prayer in a home where he lodged, and 
he would ask that the slaves be called. Objections were usually 
offered, but when these were overcome the master would dash out 
on the piazza and order the slaves to come for prayer— in such coarse 
and stentorian tones "as must have chilled every religious feeling/' 
The slaves, allowed only to stand on the piazza, would devoutly kneel 
for prayer, "while the whites would sit, or loll back with their feet 
elevated, and treat the whole in a contemptuous manner." These were 
homes of irreligious families who did not want him, but where he 
stopped for the opportunity of speaking to the blacks. 83 

At the General Conference of 1820, one of the delegates was Thomas 
Griffin, earlier presiding elder of the Louisiana District. He made a spirited 
defense of the southern attitude toward slavery, making the frequent 
charge that 

the people in the northern states after having sold what slaves they 
once owned to people of the southern states, and pocketed the 
money, have ever since been "convinced of the great evil of slavery," 
and have labored for its extirpation.... Sir, if a stranger was in that 
[spectators] gallery, he would conclude that we Southerners were a 
pack of cannibals, who kill and eat our slaves... [and] are to be con- 
demned, without mixture or mercy, for holding the same property 
those Northerners once possessed. 84 

One effort to find a solution for this dilemma in the nation was the 
formation of the American Colonization Society, which the conference 
approved in 1826. Benjamin M. Drake, then serving in New Orleans, pro- 
posed this action. John G. Jones described the society thus: 

The American Colonization Society was organized in 1816 [1817] for 
the purpose of colonizing on the western coast of Africa as many of 
the free people of color in the United States, including emancipated 
slaves, as would voluntarily be transported and settled there at the 
expense of the society. The object of the society was very popular 
in the Mississippi Conference. . .and was liberally patronized until its 
popularity was weighed down and finally overcome by the fanaticism 
of the ultra-abolitionists of the northern states. 85 

William Winans was also a strong supporter of the Colonization Soci- 
ety. By 1824 he was recognized as a leading crusader in the cause. He 
believed the colonization plan to be the best in the long run for the welfare 

24 Becoming One People 

of blacks, for if they were freed forthwith "their own situation would be 
much worse than that of slaves/' 86 

Some of the preachers from the North who served in the Mississippi 
Conference were dissatisfied with the southern attitude toward slavery. 
One such was Joshua Boucher, Jr., who asked for a transfer to Ohio in 
1826, and when this was denied, he located and went to Ohio on his 
own. 87 

The debate over slavery became more heated as the years went by, 
and we will meet it again. Perhaps some slave owners, though not all, 
felt as the Methodist slave owner in Tennessee who wrote to his former 
pastor, Edward Dromgoole, Sr., in 1805: "Lord, brother, I wish I never 
owned, or was master of Negroes!... But what to do with them, I know 
not. We can't live with them or without them; and what to do is a ques- 
tion. ... Is this a life for a Christian to lead? I wish some good advice upon 
this head." 88 

Consolidating the Early Beginnings 

Gradually the Methodist movement in Louisiana was gaining 
strength, through the laity and clergy. The area was gaining new 
preachers who were to stay there and help build for the future. Until that 
time, most preachers were considered missionaries, who would spend 
a limited time on the circuits and then return east or north. A preacher 
who came in 1810 and stayed was William Winans, who was destined 
to become one of the most influential Methodists in the Southwest for 
almost fifty years. Abel Stevens called him "one of the most notable men 
of the American ministry." 89 

Preceding Winans to Mississippi by one year was Samuel Sellers, who 
served as presiding elder at a crucial time when bishops could not make 
the trip to the Natchez country because of unsettled conditions in Indian 
territory. He was reported to have guided "the legitimate business of a 
regular annual conference... with commendable precision and dispatch." 90 
He also compiled and published for the conference in 1816 a song book 
entitled Sellers Selection of Hymns and Spiritual Songs. 91 Methodists then 
and now are known as a singing people, following John Wesley's urging 
in 1761 that his followers "sing lustily and with good courage." 92 

Another outstanding Methodist preacher in the early days who gained 
the first enduring foothold in New Orleans, was Benjamin M. Drake. 
Bishop Charles B. Galloway said that Drake's name was "synonymous 
for consecrated scholarship, perfect propriety, unaffected piety, and 
singular sincerity." 93 

New life and status for people and preachers came with having a con- 
ference of their own in Louisiana and Mississippi. The General Conference 
of 1812 authorized a Tennessee Conference, and gave the bishops 

Methodists Reach Louisiana 25 

authority "to organize another in the Mississippi Valley/' 94 The Tennessee 
Conference was organized in the fall, 1812, and a date was set to organize 
the Mississippi Conference a year later; Bishop Asbury wrote in his Jour- 
nal on November 2, 1812, that he looked forward to going to Mississippi. 
But when 1813 arrived, Indian unrest was so pronounced that Asbury's 
colleagues would not agree to his attempting the dangerous journey. Con- 
sequently, the Louisiana/Mississippi preachers gathered on November 
1, 1813, at Spring Hill, Jefferson County, Mississippi, with Presiding Elder 
Samuel Sellers in the chair. They held what has been called a "quasi- 
conference." They were still listed as Mississippi and Louisiana Districts 
under the Tennessee Conference in the Annual Minutes of the church until 
1816, and they sent the minutes of their meetings to Tennessee. 95 

The organization of the Mississippi Conference was significant 
because membership in an annual conference is the basic connection for 
a preacher. It is his home base. Before the creation of the Mississippi Con- 
ference, preachers assigned from the Western Conference considered 
themselves visitors in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. Now they 
considered themselves "home folks/' 

The preachers also felt like "home folks" because many of the lay peo- 
ple welcomed them into their communities and indeed into their homes. 
John G. Jones gave a testimonial to "the providential distribution of first- 
class Methodist families and individuals all over our vast territory, who 
were always ready to give the travel and labor-worn itinerants a cordial 
welcome, to feed and lodge them for the time being, and to cooperate 
with them in all their efforts to spread scriptural holiness over the 
land...." 96 

Although Jones said he must report that sometimes the preachers in 
southwestern Louisiana met "with a degree of coldness, rudeness, and 
personal repulses...," Daniel DeVinne, on the other hand, wrote, "In all 
my travels, I was never ill-treated by the native French of Louisiana. I 
never entered their dwellings— whether wet, hungry, or astray— without 
being kindly and even politely received...." 97 

Many Methodist laymen gave not only normal hospitality but active 
support in the work of the church. One of the most prominent, Judge 
Edward McGehee, we have already praised. He first lived in Wilkinson 
County, Mississippi and later in New Orleans, where across the years 
he contributed heavily in time and money to Methodist causes. He helped 
to secure or develop Methodist church property in New Orleans and also 
in Jackson, Louisiana for Centenary College. He was a close friend and 
confidant of William Winans, and they worked together on numerous 
Methodist projects. 

The "preacher ranks" were strengthened also by the "course of study" 
that the conferences required those entering the itinerancy to master. This 
was the only educational exposure some preachers had, and it continued 
as the chief theological/ministerial training for almost a century. Winans 

26 Becoming One People 

was the chief examiner for these courses. Among the books required for 
the study were the Bible and Wesley's Sermons. In later years H. N. 
McTyeire's Catechism on Church Government and his History of Methodism 
and Bishop Robert Paine's Life of McKendree were in this course. 

The year 1820 was a crucial one for Louisiana Methodism. Progress 
in New Orleans and in the state had been so slow that "it was suggested 
in the Bishop's Council that it might be best to withdraw the preachers 
[from Louisiana] and appropriate their labors to a more promising field. . . . 
[Ashley] Hewitt interceded. 'Was it sound policy,' said he, 'to lose what 
little has been gained by privation and toil? What would become of those 
few sheep in the wilderness?'" 98 Hewitt was named presiding elder for 
the Louisiana District, and he carried on vigorously that year. At the end 
of the year he retired at Lake Providence, where he organized several 
new churches. But in 1829 he again became an active member, taking 
an appointment. 

New Orleans, as we noted earlier, was a continuous challenge to the 
Methodist cause, and we have already traced the early part of the story. 
When Lorenzo Dow visited there in 1816 he wrote, "I find the influence 
of the clergy going downhill." 99 But as effective laymen took places of 
leadership, the situation brightened. Mr. and Mrs. William Ross continued 
their support, and soon after the arrival of Judge Edward McGehee to 
the city he became "the spiritual father of the Methodist movement within 
the city for the next thirty years." 100 Bishop McKendree visited the city 
and preached for the Methodists in March, 1819. In addition to these for- 
mal efforts, Mrs. Mary Hyde, who had moved from New York to New 
Orleans, did mission work on her own. 101 Also, the American Bible Socie- 
ty sent agents to Louisiana to distribute Bibles in French and Spanish, 
and the New York Tract Society sent 10,000 tracts by Daniel De Vinne. 102 

We noted earlier that Benjamin M. Drake carried on a vigorous 
ministry in New Orleans. He helped raise funds for the church, oversaw 
its construction, visited and preached in the state prison and the Marine 
Hospital, and preached to seamen between voyages and to the garrison 
of U. S. troops. Not surprisingly, his health gave out, and he had to rest 
for some weeks. 103 

When Drake closed his New Orleans ministry in 1826, Methodism 
was on a sound footing, with a building and a membership of twenty- 
three whites and sixty blacks. Then as William Curtis completed his three- 
year pastorate in 1830, the church building was paid for and a fund started 
for a parsonage. It was important for the chief city in Louisiana to become 
the pacesetter for the others. It thus was encouraging for New Orleans 
to establish strong Methodist pulpits. 

By 1826 Methodist leaders in Louisiana had marched over the ground, 
surveyed the situation, and decided to stay! They knew the dangers to 
their health and the struggles and hardships they would have to endure. 
But they believed that the results were worth the effort for the sake of 

Methodists Reach Louisiana 27 

the Kingdom of God. They felt about the whole of Louisiana as Jones 
wrote about Methodism in New Orleans in 1828: "Don't be discouraged! 
Methodism will loom up in New Orleans after a while. Her bright and 
glorious day of triumph is already dawning/' 104 

The following lines by William L. Stidger, called "Ballad of Bishops/' 
are true of both the humble preacher circuit rider in Louisiana in the early 
years and the bishop circuit rider: 

This is a tough and tumbling tale 
Of strong men out on a long, hard trail; 
In it the sound of horses' hoofs, 
Laughter of men, rain on the roofs; 

For those were men who could stride a horse, 
And over the mountains plot a course 

Who could suffer heat and drought and cold; 
Who could preach and pray and boom and scold 
The toughest sinner into the fold; 

With the Word of God in their saddle packs 
They took the unmade trails and tracks. 

With the love of God in their hearts they rode 

Into the unknown vast abode 

Where pioneers and brave men went 

With a faith that lived and a great intent 

To build a new and braver land 

On the sea-girt coast and the desert sand. 

They had the face of the world in their dreams 

As they followed the mountain trails and streams. 105 


Putting Down Methodist Roots 

1827 - 1846 

Ihe "peculiar providence" Lorenzo Dow referred to in 
describing the opening of Louisiana to the United States and thus to 
Methodists clearly emerged in the second quarter of the nineteenth cen- 
tury. The seed of Methodism had been scattered over the swamps, 
bayous, and northern prairies of Louisiana and now began to take rootage 
and sprout throughout the state. 

New Congregations and Buildings 

Chief evidence of this deeper rootage was (1) the increased number 
of societies (or churches, as they were now being called), (2) the erection 
of buildings to house congregations, and (3) a deepening devotion to 
Christ and the church. We gain a good view of this development from 
local church histories. As already noted, progress of Methodism in Loui- 
siana (a part of the Mississippi Conference until 1847) came relatively 
slowly. Linus Parker, a Louisiana minister and later bishop, explained 
it thus: 

Owing to various circumstances the aggressive movements of the 
gospel in Louisiana are slow. The laborer here must have long 
patience; casting his bread upon the waters, . . .the patience that waits 
must be his. . . . The country cannot be taken by storm. Rather, it must 
be conquered by the... gradual approaches of a seige.... In com- 
munities (of which there are more in Louisiana than elsewhere) where 
Methodism is not understood, and where there is little or no sym- 
pathy for the preacher, the preacher becomes the exponent of the 
church, and the planting of the gospel depends greatly upon the per- 
sonal fitness of the man. 1 

There were two chief difficulties for Methodists in Louisiana, espe- 
cially in New Orleans. First was the hostility of Roman Catholic officials, 
who were supported in this by large numbers of Catholics. This hostility 
is well illustrated by the difficulty early Methodists had in even finding 
a place to hold services. Second were the influences in New Orleans which 


Putting Down Methodist Roots 29 

to Methodist sensibilities seemed detrimental to wholesome Christian 
community. In spite of these factors, by 1827 Methodists had made prog- 
ress in several parts of the state, even in New Orleans. 

Methodists built a church at Plaquemine in 1820-21, and in Opelousas 
they had access to a community church building by 1825. With substan- 
tial assistance from Judge Edward McGehee and William Winans, New 
Orleans got its first Methodist building the same year, while Benjamin 
M. Drake was pastor. The building had a gallery "for the occupancy of 
the colored people," whose Christian convictions were described as "deep 
and pungent" but without the fanaticism sometimes found. 2 

A bit later New Orleans Methodists organized a new church named 
Lafayette, and another, Gravier Street, soon had a meeting house. 
Poydras Street church erected a new building, and the annual conference 
would choose to meet there in 1845. Even before black and white 
Methodists officially separated by mutual agreement, some blacks had 
their own churches, for example, Wesley Church, Soule Chapel, and 
Winans Chapel. These three would become Methodist Episcopal churches 
following the Civil War. Winans Chapel eventually became First Street 
Church. 3 Other Methodist churches in New Orleans in this era were 
Moreau Street, Steele Chapel, Andrew Chapel, and St. Mary's; the lat- 
ter three merged about the end of this period to form Felicity Street 

In north Louisiana, church buildings were sometimes too expensive 
for small groups, so Methodists and Presbyterians at Pecan Grove 
cooperated during the period 1828-32 in the erection and use of a church 
building (predecessor of First Church, Lake Providence). Often a two- 
story building served as both a lodge and a church. In the late 1820s, 
Methodist groups in and around Homer organized under guidance from 
William Stevenson; possibly he preached also at Shreveport in the late 
1820s or early 1830s. In 1830 Stevenson licensed Uriah Whatley from the 
Eden congregation as an exhorter and for at least twenty years was instru- 
mental in organizing and supervising churches all over the northern part 
of the state. 

Boeuf Prairie Church began in 1832, and its present building, erected 
in 1837, is one of the oldest Methodist church buildings in the state. Indian 
Bayou and Port Barre churches go back about as far as Boeuf Prairie. 
Methodist preaching in the Baton Rouge area goes back to about 1809. 
In 1810, there was a church at Old Salem, located fourteen miles east of 
Baton Rouge. It was not until 1832, however, that Baton Rouge was listed 
as a charge. 

Methodist preaching in Greenwood was begun about 1839 or 1840, 
possibly by William Stevenson, and within a few years the members had 
built a church. At Many a local preacher, W. D. Stephens, helped organize 
a Methodist church. Stephens was a member of the Louisiana Constitu- 
tional Convention in the 1840s. The Friendship Church in Keithville 

30 Becoming One People 

organized in 1840 in Caddo Parish and soon erected a log building. 
Harmony Chapel, near Ruston, began about this time and was named 
for the spirit of cooperation in the community. 

But what more shall we say? Space would fail us if we gave details 
about Methodist beginnings in Shreveport, Donaldsonville, Benton, New 
Roads, Natchitoches, Franklinton, St. Joseph (Wesley), Mansfield, Homer, 
Colquitt, Monroe, Waldheim, Jackson, Columbia, all established in these 
years. Furthermore, in the early 1840s congregations of the Methodist 
Protestant Church were established at Natchitoches, Bayou Mason, 
Marion, and Greenwood. 4 

In local churches such as these the gospel was preached in Louisiana, 
sinners were converted, and church members were nurtured. Ruth Mason 
Vernon, after reading all the local church histories in the Louisiana Con- 
ference Archives at Magale Library of Centenary College, Shreveport, 

These local church histories are incredible tales of fire, flood, hur- 
ricane, epidemics, catastrophes, wars, deprivation, death, destruc- 
tion, and practically every type calamity known to man. But through 
it all, Methodist churches somehow continued to grow, to rebuild, 
to move, to change, to strengthen, to accomplish, and to serve. 
Perhaps that underlying determination to serve, always to be there 
to meet the needs of the people, has driven them on. That, and their 
faith that somehow, come what may, they could and they would— 
as indeed they must— survive. And they have outlived it all. 

Where Are the Preachers Stationed? 

This question has been asked annually since Methodist preachers first 
served in Louisiana— and longer. One of the crucial elements in the suc- 
cess of Methodism in the state was the careful placement of preachers 
in churches. 

In the 1800s, the bishop and presiding elders who made Louisiana 
appointments did so almost alone, and pastors rarely knew where they 
were to be sent until the appointments were publicly announced. The 
churches had practically no voice in selecting the pastor assigned to them. 
Bishop John M. Moore of the neighboring state of Texas later explained 
the good points of this policy: "If appointments are strategically made 
Methodism. . .steadily and forcibly goes forward. . . . Methodism should be 
directed by those who know where and how Methodism should go.... 
Fighting on the field wins the battle, but strategy in the headquarters wins 
the war". 5 Appointment making was then— and still is— one of the chief 
ways the bishop affects the local church. 

Putting Down Methodist Roots 31 

Bishops who guided Louisiana preachers in this era included William 
McKendree (who gave special attention to New Orleans Methodism), 
Robert R. Roberts, Joshua Soule, James O. Andrew, John Emory, Thomas 
A. Morris, Beverly Waugh, and Edmund S. Janes. They were serious, 
devoted men, but not all were long-faced. Bishop Roberts was said to 
be "smartly spiced with innocent and useful wit and humor, and often 
in this way poured oil on the troubled waters of an earnest debate/' 6 

These bishops were always looking for devoted young men to go into 
the ministry; otherwise, they might not have enough preachers for every 
church or charge. Louisiana badly needed more preachers as did other 
Methodist districts. Presiding Elder O. L. Nash wrote in the New York 
Christian Advocate (December 26, 1834) about the situation in his area: "We 
have not been able to supply all our circuits with one preacher, and most 
of our missions have been left unsupplied." But Louisiana could not con- 
tinue to depend upon ministers from the outside. Though there was 
already a procedure for transferring ministers, increasingly most con- 
ference members spent their whole career in one conference. 

In Louisiana and Mississippi, as elsewhere, a committee of preachers 
carefully examined each applicant for admission to the conference, and 
if recommended, the applicant was admitted on trial. Conferences 
required persons on trial to take the conference course of study, center- 
ing in study of the Bible, Christian doctrine, and the history of the church. 
They admitted candidates to "full connection" (or membership) if they 
passed this "course of study" and showed evidences that they would 
become good preachers. In 1834 the Mississippi Conference approved 
those seeking deacon's orders only after the candidates were admonished 
to take the course of study seriously, for too many were careless about 
their studies. 

Not all who worked toward becoming ministers became members of 
the conference. In 1824 the Mississippi Conference discontinued one can- 
didate on trial because of ill-health and three others with no reason 
reported. Three were located (discontinued) at their own request. One 
of the ministers at that time, John G. Jones, explained that conference 
members had a duty to be forbearing with young, uneducated, and inex- 
perienced men on trial but also had a duty to the people and to themselves 
to refuse to accept any who, after a fair testing, proved to be unaccept- 
able. 7 In 1840 the Mississippi Conference admitted nine on trial, discon- 
tinued nine at their own request, continued thirteen on trial, and received 
twelve into full connection. 

Even though preachers were crucially needed, they were not offered 
much reward, except the satisfaction of doing an important and difficult 
task. Salaries were low. William Stevenson in Claiborne Parish wrote in 
1830 that he had never received anything like full quarterage and many 
years not more than $50. 8 And parsonages were still but a dream of the 
preacher's wife. 

32 Becoming One People 

Ministering to Blacks, Germans, and the French 

Louisiana posed special problems to Methodist efforts to win members 
because sizable segments of the population were German speaking, 
French speaking, or black. A ministry to the blacks received first atten- 
tion because they lived among the English speaking whites (as slaves and 
servants and as members of Methodist congregations) and because they 
usually spoke English. As noted earlier, there were black members in 
Methodist societies in Louisiana/Mississippi from the start. In the begin- 
ning, though seated separately, black and white members usually met 
together. Gradually they formed separate churches, especially in New 
Orleans, and later there were special "colored missions/' to be found chief- 
ly on plantations. Some preachers gave many years of their ministry to 
working with black congregations. 

The work of Joseph Travis in New Orleans in 1836 typified Methodist 
concern to offer the gospel to blacks. He began preaching to them, in 
spite of the possibility of imprisonment and of some so-called committee 
of vigilance reporting him to the authorities if they decided his sermons 
might incite the blacks to rebel. In fact, such a committee visited one of 
his services, but made a favorable report on his sermon. He continued 
his ministry to blacks in spite of possible entanglements. 9 By the time 
the Louisiana Conference was organized in 1847 there were 3,329 black 
members in Methodist churches in the state. 

Methodist efforts to evangelize the French in Louisiana made slow 
progress. In 1820 Bishop William McKendree urged the denomination's 
missionary society in New York to send missionaries to the western fron- 
tier to preach in French, although the French speaking people were 
acknowledged as the least responsive to Protestant efforts. 

In 1823 Thomas Clinton and Benjamin M. Drake were on a preaching 
tour to New Iberia, and while they were there Marinie Prince, a French- 
man, was converted; his children and grandchildren became the nucleus 
of the French Mission later started nearby. But these early efforts did not 
proliferate at once. 

Methodist efforts with the Germans were more successful. In 1842 
Peter Schmucker came from Louisville to New Orleans, where he 
established three preaching places, opened a Sunday School, and raised 
money for building a comfortable frame church on Melicierte (Erato) 
Street. Carl Bremer became pastor when Schmucker moved back north 
after two months of zealous missionary labors. Bremer joined the con- 
ference in 1843, and a German colleague, Nicholas Brickwedel, joined 
in 1844. Sixty German Methodists were reported in that year. 10 

Putting Down Methodist Roots 33 

Louisiana, Launching Pad for Texas Methodism 

In 1815-1816, before he began his work in Louisiana, William Steven- 
son was the first Methodist and Protestant preacher in the Province of 
Texas. The scene of his preaching was northeast Texas at Pecan Point, 
in present-day Red River County. His base was in southwest Arkansas, 
and he nurtured several of the preachers who later served in Louisiana 
and from there spread Methodism into Austin's colony in the south cen- 
tral area of Texas. His preacher son, James Porter Stevenson, organized 
what is now the oldest Methodist church in Texas, McMahan's Chapel. 
William Stevenson's protege, Henry Stephenson, was the earliest mis- 
sionary in the western part of Austin's colony. 

Both of these latter preachers were pastors in northwest Louisiana 
when they visited Texas and preached there - James Porter Stevenson 
on Sabine Circuit in 1833-34, and Henry Stephenson there the next year. 
For 1834-35, Henry Stephenson was appointed to "Texas Mission" in the 
Louisiana District of the Mississippi Conference - the first time the word 
"Texas" appeared as a Methodist appointment. Stephenson then moved 
to Texas and continued his preaching tours, but gave up conference 
membership. He became what was called a local preacher, preaching occa- 
sionally, but not serving as a full-time pastor. 

Jefferson Hamilton of New Orleans wrote the Methodist missionary 
society in 1836 urging the sending of missionaries to Texas, and by March, 
1837, the society decided to do so. 11 A Texas mission was authorized and 
attached to the Mississippi Conference as a district. The society appointed 
Littleton Fowler, Robert Alexander, and Martin Ruter as the first mis- 
sionaries. These three reached Texas by the fall of 1837. In the next two 
years the mission grew amazingly, in spite of the untimely death of Ruter 
on May 16, 1838. Before much time had passed, the Mississippi Con- 
ference approved the organization of Rutersville College in Texas, the 
first institution of higher education in the state. Books were gathered in 
New Orleans and sent for use at Rutersville. 

Two of the Texas preachers, Jesse Hord and Joseph P. Sneed, trav- 
eled together in 1839 to attend the Mississippi Conference, to which they 
still belonged. They went by boat, and on landing at New Orleans Hord 
was sick from a stormy voyage. They also had run out of money. After 
unsuccessfully seeking help from the local Methodist pastor, they sought 
help from a cotton broker whose name they found in a newspaper. He 
directed them to the home of a "lovely Christian family," where they were 
welcomed and cared for during two days. On their leaving, their host, 
heretofore unknown to them, lent them each twenty dollars to continue 
their trip home. 12 That experience softened their earlier opinion of New 
Orleans as a godless city. Perhaps the Methodist Church was making a 
difference there. 

34 Becoming One People 

In the 1838 appointments, the Mississippi Conference designated 
seven pastors for Texas Mission District. By the fall of 1839, Texas 
Methodism required "two vast districts.... Surely we are growing, and 
Texas cannot much longer continue as a remote corner of missionary ter- 
ritory attached to another conference/' as Macum Phelan put it. 13 Sure 
enough, it became an annual conference a year later. Great credit for 
fostering the growth of Texas Methodism is due Mississippi and Loui- 
siana Methodists. 

There were other close contacts in the early years that tied the 
Methodists of the two states together and by which Texas Methodism 
was strengthened. Numerous Louisiana Methodists migrated to Texas 
and helped strengthen new Methodist beginnings there. Eliza McFarland 
was one example; she had been a charter member at Monroe, Louisiana. 
After moving to Texas, she helped organize the first church in San 
Augustine County and later married J. C. Lawhon, a local preacher. Tom 
Parmer, son of Col. Martin Parmer, who was a member of the Texas inde- 
pendence convention of 1836, first heard Methodist preaching at Allen's 
Settlement in Louisiana. Later he moved to Texas and was a strong influ- 
ence for good. In 1830-31 Methodist preacher John C. Burrus ministered 
to a group of about twenty families, while they were camping in Loui- 
siana. They were mostly Methodists enroute from Alabama to Texas. 

William Stevenson in 1808 was a local preacher in the Western Con- 
ference when William Winans was admitted on trial, and they worked 
together in Louisiana. Stevenson was also a friendly political opponent 
of Stephen F. Austin in Missouri, where they ran for office against each 
other. On a trip from Missouri to New Orleans and Texas, Austin visited 
in Stevenson's home in Arkansas, and the two carried on a cor- 
respondence. 14 Also, Ruter and Winans were well acquainted, partly 
through contacts at General Conferences, and Winans wrote the epitaph 
for the monument made in New Orleans and placed over Ruter's first 
grave at Washington, Texas. 15 

Perhaps it was partly this close relationship between Louisiana and 
Texas Methodists in these early years that laid the foundation for a warm 
bond between them in later years, revealed in the continued transfer of 
preachers between the two areas. That will be noted later in this account. 

Methodists Start a College 

In 1838 the Mississippi Conference called on its churches in Missis- 
sippi and Louisiana to observe the 1839 centennial of Methodism appro- 
priately. They decided to celebrate the first century of Methodism (John 
Wesley began his public ministry in 1739) by holding rallies in each district 
and by taking subscriptions to erect and endow a college, which would 
be named Centenary College. It was Benjamin M. Drake who originally 

Putting Down Methodist Roots 35 

proposed establishment of a college. 16 Plans were set up to form a col- 
lege board of trustees, and a temporary treasurer was named. David O. 
Shattuck, John G. Jones, and Washington Ford were appointed to inves- 
tigate the feasibility of this proposal. The conference appointed a five- 
man board of commissioners and voted that the choice of location not 
be made until 1841 because of the competition of various sites and the 
difficulty of agreement. 

Choosing A Site 

A year later reports showed nearly $47,000 subscribed for the pro- 
posed college, but only $731 collected. Probably because of this situation, 
William Winans (perhaps the most influential member of the conference) 
believed the desire to start a college was premature, but he did not oppose 
it. Once the college was established, no one supported it more warmly 
than he. The locations under consideration were Clinton, Sharon, 
Raymond, and Brandon Springs. Each location had certain advantages, 
but predictions were that Clinton was most likely to be chosen. Clinton 
already was the location of Mississippi College, but it was "sadly 
defunct/' 17 On March 7, 1840, the commissioners met at Clinton and "con- 
ditionally" agreed to locate the Methodist college there, the conditions 
being that the state legislature turn over the charter of Mississippi College 
to the Methodist Church and increase the number of trustees to twenty- 
five. We do not know how this action relates to the decision by the con- 
ference not to choose a location until 1841. In any event, the Mississippi 
legislature failed to act on the request, whether intentionally or not. This 
seemed to nullify the plan to locate at Clinton. 

It is unclear whether the Methodists ever operated a college at Clinton. 
William Hamilton Nelson in his detailed history of the school proposed 
that "some work, not a great deal, was done at Clinton." 18 Although some 
effort was made to secure a president and faculty for the college, there 
was little success. In January, 1841, the trustees sent an offer of the 
presidency to someone of their choice, but he never replied to their let- 
ter. They elected one professor of ancient languages and a teacher for 
the preparatory department, but this was certainly not an adequate 
faculty. It was May 5, 1841, before the president, Thomas C. Thornton, 
and other faculty members were elected; the opening of the preparatory 
department had been announced for April, 1841, but when it was still 
not operational by May, the trustees voted that it "be dispensed with for 
the present." 19 John G. Jones, who was active in establishing the college, 
stated that the trustees met again in the summer of 1841 "to make the 
location." 20 

There must have been considerable uncertainty and frustration in the 
Board of Trustees at that time, for in their March, 1841, meeting they still 
expressed a preference for a site in the immediate vicinity of Clinton. On 

36 Becoming One People 

May 5 they voted to "defer the purchase" of property for the present, 
to proceed to use the old college buildings, and to discharge the commit- 
tee of purchase. It was not until October 12, 1841, that they voted to give 
up Clinton and choose a new site — and the college was due to open on 
November 9! A lot of fast work must have been done to arrange the loca- 
tion at Brandon Springs, which was voted at the October meeting— with 
the contract still to be written! Evidently, some pledges made to the col- 
lege were cancelled when the site was changed from Clinton, according 
to references in minutes of trustee meetings. At the November 9 meeting 
of trustees, a committee was appointed to meet with citizens of Clinton 
and explain the reason for changing locations. 

Opening the School 

President Thornton was delayed in arriving, and on opening day, 
November 9, Professor of Mathematics James B. Dodd,* a staunch 
Methodist layman from Virginia, filled in with an address entitled, 'The 
Object, Nature, and Utility of Mathematical Science." 21 He closed with 
the affirmation, "God Himself, Geometrizes! — O Lord, how great a 
Geometer Thou Art!" 

The hurried decision to locate at Brandon Springs— actually nearer 
Pelahatchie than to Brandon Springs— did not prove to be a wise one. 
The shift from Clinton prompted several disapproving trustees to resign. 22 
By 1842 questions were being raised about moving it from Brandon 
Springs; trustees realized it was not near enough to the potential patrons 
of the college. Also, other nearby schools in the state -Woodville, 
Washington, and Sharon— were competitors for students and contribu- 
tions. Patronage was simply not sufficient, though the education offered 
at Centenary College was sound. In 1844, President Thornton resigned 
because of these problems and other factors, and David O. Shattuck was 
appointed to serve as temporary president. 

Changing the Location 

Finally in 1844-45, a solution appeared when the College of Louisiana 
at Jackson, Louisiana, ceased operation and its buildings became available. 
The Mississippi Conference voted to purchase the Jackson property and 
relocate Centenary College there. 

The first Board of Trustees contained outstanding leaders such as 
Judge Edward McGehee (who helped finance the change), David Pipes, 
and William Winans. David O. Shattuck continued as president. Shattuck 
proved to be an excellent choice; he was once a candidate for governor 

* Dr. Dodd was the great-grandfather of the author of this volume. 

Putting Down Methodist Roots 37 

of Mississippi, one of the delegates in 1845 to the Louisville Convention 
where the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was organized, and "an 
eminent jurist/' later becoming a superior court judge in California. 23 

The calibre of early Centenary professors is reflected in the career of 
James B. Dodd, who went to Louisiana with the college in 1845. From 
there he soon went to Transylvania University in Kentucky, where he 
produced a half dozen books called Dodd's Mathematical Series, published 
in New York in the 1850s by Pratt, Oakley and Co. He was also acting 
president of Transylvania for several years. He served on the educational 
institute of the denomination, which began planning for a central univer- 
sity for the M. E. Church, South. Eventually Vanderbilt University would 
result from this effort. 

What were some of the implications of this move to Louisiana for 
Centenary College? Arthur Marvin Shaw provides some answers: 

When Centenary College acquired the property of the college of Loui- 
siana, it took over also the charter, the alumni, and... it even absorbed 
the name of the replaced institution, so that the new school became 
Centenary College of Louisiana. Such being the case, it has long been 
the practice of those in authority at the college to consider the institu- 
tion as having had its beginnings with the state college in 1825." 24 

Filling the Pulpit 

Preaching was one of the chief functions of early ministers. Their 
schedule limited the amount of pastoral visiting they could do, though 
they were often in the homes of their members. There were few commit- 
tee meetings to attend or office chores to perform. Their chief impact on 
a community was from the pulpit. 

Elijah Steele preached at a Sunday school rally in New Orleans in 
1840. He made such an impression that the Poydras Street Church asked 
for him as its pastor, and he was sent there the next fall. Under the 
stimulus of a challenging congregation, his effective sermons became even 
better. His keen desire to improve his preaching is clearly reflected in 
notations he made in his journal. He noted the necessity of concentrating 
on study of the Bible and other books. He mentioned that he needed to 
rid himself of certain "pet phrases," and that he had decided to abandon 
some pretty sayings that he had formerly used. 25 

William Winans was another self critical preacher in Louisiana. In his 
early ministry he evaluated one of his sermons as cold and flat. His ser- 
mons improved as a result of his practice of reading fifty pages a day; 
he kept that up for seventeen years. On one occasion at the height of 
his career, he noted that he had preached "with less than usual freedom." 
The reason was not that he failed to keep up his reading and preparation 

38 Becoming One People 

but that, as he reported, a woman in the congregation shouted so loudly 
he had to struggle to be heard. 26 

These preachers presented the standard doctrines of Methodism, but 
they made special emphases in response to certain needs. There was fre- 
quent emphasis on salvation being available to all who sought it— not just 
for those select few that Baptists and other Calvinists believed were 
predestined to be saved. Once Winans was part of a camp meeting where 
five Baptist and six Methodist preachers took turns presenting their 
theology. He concluded, "that such meetings accomplished very little, 
as was true of all occasions of public controversy." 27 Jefferson Hamilton, 
who was pastor in New Orleans about this time, later wrote a well 
documented article for The Southern Methodist Review in which he attacked 
the Baptist insistence on immersion as the only valid mode of baptism. 
He pointed out that early Baptists in England did not immerse. 28 

But not all preaching was controversial. William H. Watkins, pastor 
in New Orleans during this period, preached a sermon entitled, "Does 
Every Thing Happen for the Best?" In it he said that God fashioned our 
bodies according to great general laws; if we obey them, our bodies func- 
tion properly; if we are imprudent, we may provoke disease and bodily 
deterioration. Watkins went on to ask why God does not stop us from 
doing harm to ourselves? "How could he do so and recognize me as a 
free moral agent, capable of preferring and deciding." 29 

Methodist Protestants Enter Louisiana. 

During this era, ministers of the Methodist Protestant Church began 
organizing a few churches in Louisiana. The denomination began nation- 
ally with a sizeable group of Methodist Episcopal members who broke 
away and organized their own church. They believed lay people ought 
to have a greater voice in directing the affairs of the church than the 
Methodist Episcopal Church was willing to allow. As early as 1836, Enos 
Fletcher left the Methodist Episcopal Mississippi Conference and joined 
the Methodist Protestants, and in the next few years Elisha Lott, James 
Carstarphan, and Jack Evans followed Fletcher. 

In 1841 J. W. Jones was appointed Methodist Protestant missionary 
to Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas; and James Ford was named pastor 
at Natchitoches. The next year there was also an appointment to Bayou 
Mason. The two appointments had altogether thirty-five members. Elisha 
Lott reported that the first quarterly conference of the Methodist Protes- 
tants in Louisiana was held on October 20, 1842. He also noted that a 
man named Ford had been persecuted for being a Methodist Protestant. 
He described Natchitoches as "a place for vice." 30 

The Methodist Protestants in this era reflected several points of stress 
in church life among Methodists. On August 4, 1841, the denominational 

Putting Down Methodist Roots 39 

paper reported that two Methodist Episcopal churches had refused to 
accept the ministers appointed to them, which was characterized in the 
headline as ''Rebellion/' On October 16 the same year, it carried an arti- 
cle stating that husbands "absurdly fancy that they have the right to be 
tyrants over their wives. But... the wife is his natural adviser and counselor 
whose opinion he should listen to and follow, if he finds it more just and 
reasonable than his own. It is contrary to the laws of God and nature 
for a husband to require blind obedience from his wife." 

The rather undemocratic practice of pewed churches (where a member 
has the exclusive use of a certain pew) was argued pro and con in the 
Methodist Protestant for January, 1842, as were the pros and cons of 
episcopal church government. Letters published in the paper also dealt 
with slavery and with whether wine or unfermented grape juice should 
be used in the Lord's Supper. The slavery issue would bring a split in 
The Methodist Protestant Church as it would in. the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, but somewhat later. 

The paper for June 11, 1842, printed a broadside against moral con- 
ditions in New Orleans, calling the scenes there on Sundays "a disgrace 
to that proud and wicked city." On August 20 that same year, an article 
predicted the Methodist Episcopal Church might divide over slavery and 
expressed the hope that Methodist Protestants should never split over 
any issue. 

Slavery— Its Problems for Methodists 

The most acute concern in this era was the growing controversy— in 
church and state— over slavery. This was partly due to the expansion 
of the slavery system in the "Cotton Kingdom" of the South and partly 
to the increased demands by northerners for abolition of that system. 
These two movements were on a collision course. 

The number of slaves increased steadily in Louisiana and the South 
as a whole, and as they did, the controversy among Methodists increased, 
in both the Methodist Episcopal Church and in the Methodist Protestant 
Church. 31 It was chiefly an issue between persons of the North and South. 
Citizens in the North had relatively few slaves. The increasingly mecha- 
nized industrial economy of the North had no need or place for slave 
labor. In the South, however, blacks contributed greatly to the economy 
with their labor. 

Slavery was obviously a boon to white owners, though slave labor 
had certain costs attached: housing, food, clothing, and medical atten- 
tion. Defenders of the system pointed out that the slave owner usually 
was motivated by self interest to provide adequately for his slaves in order 
to profit by their labor. However, critics charged that force was frequently 
used to secure obedience to regulations and adherence to duties; families 

40 Becoming One People 

were sometimes divided permanently when one or more members were 
sold to a new owner. Probably the basic wrong of the system, some 
pointed out, was that a human being, "a child of God" in Christian 
understanding, was made a thing, to be bought and sold. John Wesley 
wrote fifty years before this time that "Liberty is the right of every human 
creature" and asked, "Have you, has any man living, a right to use another 
as a slave?" 32 But not many Methodists in Louisiana and Mississippi then 
had read the opinion of the founder of Methodism. 

Southern Preachers Defend Slavery 

Southern preachers, in the main, "looked upon slavery as a civil insti- 
tution, the existence and perpetuity of which were recognized by the Con- 
stitution and laws of the United States. . .and that as ministers of the gospel 
we did not interfere with the civil institutions of our country, but 
endeavored to preach the gospel faithfully to both master and slave," as 
John G. Jones put it. 33 Others argued that since slavery existed in biblical 
times and was not condemned, it was therefore acceptable. Some held 
that blacks were naturally inferior and that God intended superior per- 
sons to be the masters of inferior ones. 34 

William Winans knew Louisiana and Mississippi slaveholding at first 
hand and was one of the ablest of southern preachers. Though a slave 
owner, he deeply regretted that slavery ever came to the United States. 
He was convinced that for Christians to refuse to own slaves would leave 
them all in the hands of nonchristians, which would be deplorable; to 
free them and leave them in the South would place them in a situation 
worse than slavery. Consequently, he considered the efforts of the 
American Colonization Society to be the most logical solution: to resettle 
them in their original homeland of Africa. 35 The annual conference 
appointed John C. Burrus in 1832 as agent for the Colonization Society. 
Louisiana and Mississippi preachers, wrote John G. Jones, were "perhaps 
universally in favor of a gradual and judiciously conducted emancipa- 
tion, which would ruin neither master nor slave." 36 Joseph C. Hartzell, 
Methodist Episcopal minister who came to New Orleans following the 
Civil War, testified to the heroism of southern Methodist preachers before 
the war for braving dangers of disease and bodily discomfort in order 
to take the gospel to blacks. "Not a few of them died as martyrs," he 
wrote. 37 

Methodists Evangelize the Slaves 

Most southern Christians believed that slaves ought to be evange- 
lized. Some slave owners feared that the gospel— with its emphasis on 
freedom— would incite slaves to seek their own freedom: "And ye shall 
know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. . . . If the Son therefore 

Putting Down Methodist Roots 41 

shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:32,36). Other slave 
owners believed that slaves who were Christians were more likely to be 
honest, hard-working, and reliable. Methodist leaders in Louisiana believ- 
ed they had a duty to proclaim the Christian message to slaves, as they 
were duty bound to proclaim it to all persons. However, some slaves com- 
plained that a recurring text used by some white preachers was 
"Obey... your masters" (Colossians 3:22). 

We must not overlook the fact that in Louisiana, especially in New 
Orleans, there was a sizeable group of free blacks. They were indicated 
on census reports as f.m.c— "free men of color," and had the right to 
buy and sell property, sue and be sued in civil courts, and testify against 
whites in criminal cases. 38 Among free blacks born in this period who 
were later prominent in Methodist and/or state affairs were Caesar C. 
Antoine, Felix C. Antoine, and Emperor Williams. 39 Ira Berlin points out 
that "Blacks who had enjoyed freedom before the [Civil] war generally 
remained at the top of the new black society." 40 

Special attention was given to services for blacks; P. S. Greaves wrote 
in 1827, "My prospects are far better among the coloured people than 
among the whites. I preach to a numerous collection of them in the after- 
noon of every Sabbath.... Some of them can read the New Testament 
with great facility." 41 By 1829 the conference instructed the missionary 
committee to give special attention to "the people of colour." By 1840 the 
conference authorized a special catechism for blacks. 42 

Slavery — Its Consequences 

The issue of slavery became so heated that the General Conference 
of 1844 was the scene of a deplorable division between northern and 
southern Methodists. The issue was the ownership of slaves in the 
household of Bishop James O. Andrew of Georgia. Bishop Andrew's first 
wife died in 1842 and left a young slave to him. In 1844 he married again. 
His second wife owned several slaves, but he had no legal claim to them. 
The bishop declared, "I have neither bought nor sold a slave... [and] in 
the only two instances in which I am legally a slaveholder emancipation 
is impractical [Georgia law prohibited it]. As to the servants owned by 
my wife, I have no legal responsibility in the premises, nor could my wife 
emancipate them if she desired to do so." 43 

Debate over this issue made that General Conference the longest ever 
held. The Mississippi Conference had sent as its delegates William 
Winans, Benjamin M. Drake, John Lane, and Green M. Rogers. They sym- 
pathized with Bishop Andrew, and approved his actions. The southern 
delegates, including those from Louisiana and Mississippi, believed that 
censuring Bishop Andrew and denying him the right to function as a 
bishop so long as he remained a slaveholder, would make their own 


Becoming One People 

ministry to slaves and slaveholders ineffective, and would inevitably lead 
to division. 

Leadership by Winans 

William Winans 

William Winans of Louisiana 
and Mississippi, called by Bishop 
McTyeire the leading minister of 
the southwest, was one of the most 
vigorous spokesmen for Methodists 
of the South in the debates at the 
1844 conference. He was the first 
speaker for the southern side. 
McTyeire described Winans as 

a striking figure— tall and raw- 
boned. The veins of his stringy 
neck might be seen, swollen 
with earnestness, for he spoke 
in Italics and wore no cravat. 
His limp shirt-collar lay around, 
his clothes were baggy, and his 
shoes tied with strings; but his 
eye was bloodshot with inten- 
sity, and his head a magnificent 
dome of thought. Exact, logical, 
forcible, he had become known 
in... 1824, as unsurpassed in 
debate. 44 

Winans challenged the northern delegates to face up to the fact that 
condemnation of Bishop Andrew would mean southern preachers would 
lose influence with southern masters and slaves and thus would force 
a division in the church. When the final vote was taken, which denied 
Bishop Andrew the right to continue to exercise his episcopal functions, 
a plan of separation was agreed upon, in case southern conferences 
decided they must separate. Winans reported that the plan of separation 
was framed by L. L. Hamline of Ohio, and he charged that Hamline 
"drove us on to the necessity of separation." Bishop F. D. Leete, a New 
Yorker, wrote that the division of 1844 was brought about "by a collision 
of conscientious responsibility with impatient idealism, unwilling to heed 
an appeal by the bishops for a reasonable delay." Unfortunate as the divi- 
sion was, it was judged by many to be a lesser evil than continued con- 
tention and bitterness in the same fellowship. 45 

Putting Down Methodist Roots 43 

Mississippi Conference Votes for Division 

A committee on separation at the December, 1844, session of the 
Mississippi Conference took six days to perfect its report. They 
recommended that the conference join in the movement to separate and 
thus elect delegates to represent them at the meeting the next May, when 
southern representatives would decide about forming a new denomina- 
tion. This delegation included such outstanding men as Winans, Lane, 
Jones, Drake, and Shattuck. One minister of the Mississippi Conference 
opposed division of the church; he was Benjamin A. Houghton, who 
elected to transfer to a conference remaining in the Methodist Episcopal 
Church. Records show that at least one layman adhered to the M. E. 
Church. 46 

Mississippi and Louisiana preachers were prominent in the actions 
of the Louisville Convention, at which a decision was made to organize 
a Methodist Church of southern and southwestern conferences. At its 
1845 session, the Mississippi Conference elected its delegates to what 
would become the first general conference of a new Methodist Church. 
To this 1846 conference held in Petersburg, Virginia, where the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South was organized, they sent almost the same 
delegation they had sent to the 1845 Louisville Convention. 

Two highly significant actions were taken at this 1846 General Con- 
ference. Louisiana and Mississippi delegates joined others in organizing 
the Methodist Episcopal Church, South; and they proposed— and the 
General Conference agreed— to create a new annual conference in the 
state of Louisiana west of the Mississippi River. Baton Rouge and New 
Orleans, though east of the River, were included. Louisiana Methodists 
were now on their own— no, they now had greater responsibility as co- 
workers with God. 


Organizing for Ministry 
1847 - 1861 

1 he second half of the 1840s saw a decisive turning point in 
the history of the United States as many adventurous people moved 
westward. In midyear 1845, three or four thousand U. S. troops stationed 
at Fort Jessup, Louisiana and commanded by General Zachary Taylor 
moved to Corpus Christi to protect U. S. citizens in Texas. In that year, 
Texas voted to join the United States and in February, 1846, began 
operating as a state. 1 As the frontier and the nation's borders in the 
southwest continued to move westward, more and more people were 
drawn to Louisiana. 

Among those westward bound emigrants were Methodists who 
decided to settle in Mississippi and Louisiana. Their numbers were so 
great by 1845 that the 1846 General Conference approved the request to 
organize Louisiana Methodists into a separate conference. Although the 
Mississippi Conference retained Jackson, Louisiana as its appointment, 
Centenary College, which was located there, continued to be jointly spon- 
sored by the two conferences. 

Bishop Soule Guides First Conference 

Bishop Joshua Soule was assigned to conduct the organizing session 
of the Louisiana Conference, which met on January 6, 1847, in the court- 
house at Opelousas. The bishop's arrival was delayed, and John Powell, 
the only presiding elder present at the opening, took the chair as presiding 
officer, conducted devotions, and supervised the election of William H. 
Crenshaw as secretary. Although only twenty preachers were present 
the first day, at the end of the session the bishop appointed fifty ministers 
to their tasks, most of whom had appeared for part of the conference ses- 
sion. In addition, four men were admitted on trial, four were admitted 
to full membership, and at least two were transferred from other 
conferences. 2 

As a part of its organization for ministry to Methodists -and others -of 
their area, the conference adopted a set of by-laws, appointed commit- 
tees, ordained deacons and elders, heard committee reports, accepted 
new members, and announced the appointments of ministers. In addition, 


Organizing for Ministry 45 

the character of each pastor was examined in open session, and in a few 
cases, charges of unacceptable conduct were made. As a result, one 
minister was found guilty of "trifling with the sacred institution of 
matrimony" and of fraud and forthwith expelled. Another was found 
guilty of "levity and foolish jesting inconsistent with the character of a 
Christian minister" and was admonished publicly by the bishop. Several 
others were discontinued, meaning their membership in the conference 
was terminated. A few were located, meaning they gave up their con- 
ference membership, but remained as members of the local church. These 
actions were taken to make certain that members of the conference were 
effective in their ministry and beyond reproach in their personal and 
ministerial relations. 

Bishop Soule directed the conference in the cultivation of young 
ministers. He gave special emphasis to examining new applicants; to 
counselling them as they studied, preached, and engaged in ministry; 
and to guiding them in deepening their spiritual lives. The new conference 
reported 4,715 white members and 3,329 "colored," as they were listed 
then. There were thirty-four white circuits, two German missions, one 
French mission (all three in New Orleans), and eight "colored" missions. 3 

Circuits in Louisiana 

A few years before Louisiana was set off as a separate conference, 
John G. Jones wrote, "Our whole conference territory was, to some extent, 
occupied, and our work now consisted mostly in developing, filling up, 
and maturing the charges already in hand." 4 

The new Louisiana Conference found itself in just such a position. 
It had five districts, and each was a geographical subunit of the conference. 
Serving as administrator of the district was a presiding elder (now called 
a district superintendent). The districts were named Alexandria, 
Attakapas, Monroe, New Orleans, and Vidalia. There was a total of forty- 
seven charges in the conference. In Methodist terminology a pastoral 
charge consists of one or more local churches to which a minister is 
appointed as pastor in charge. A circuit is comprised of two or more 
churches under a pastor's supervision and constitutes one pastoral charge. 
If a church or charge was not self-supporting and received conference 
funds to carry on its activities, it was called a mission. 

The Alexandria District was named for the town in the central part 
of the state. In 1847, the Alexandria circuit had a membership of forty 
whites and fifty blacks. Columbia circuit was centered in the town of 
Columbia, located south of Monroe, and had 249 white members and 
seventy-nine blacks. In the Atchafalaya area, thirty-five white members 
were reported; and 113 white and seventy-eight black members lived on 

46 Becoming One People 

the Bayou Chicot circuit. In the Boeuf Prairie area, membership included 
141 white members and thirty blacks. 

There were only six appointments in the Attakapas District in 1847. 
These were in the southern part of the state, not far from the Gulf of 
Mexico. This district included such towns as Washington, Opelousas, 
Thibodaux, Franklin, Plaquemine, and parishes of La Fourche and 
Calcasieu. In this area there were 568 black Methodists and 726 white ones. 

Monroe District had a large membership in 1847 and was located in 
west and north central Louisiana. It included a white and a black con- 
gregation in Monroe and congregations in the towns of Shreveport, 
Minden, Natchitoches, Coushatta, and D'Arbonne. The Methodist con- 
gregation in Shreveport originated in 1845. In 1847 Robert J. Harp was 
appointed as the first full-time Methodist preacher there. A church 
building followed shortly after the appointment. There were also con- 
gregations outside of towns in Ouachita (spelled Washita), Caddo, and 
Red River parishes. The Monroe District had the largest white Methodist 
membership in the state, standing at 2,527, and its black membership of 
817 was second only to that of New Orleans. 

Vidalia District was in the northeast corner of the state. It included 
Tensas, Madison, and Richland parishes, as well as Lake Providence and 
Vidalia. In this area, black members outnumbered whites by 427 to 338. 

New Orleans District was the largest, of course, having fourteen 
appointments. Among them were three German congregations and 
several black churches, such as Lafayette Colored Charge and Wesley 
Chapel, a French Mission, and Seamen's Bethel. Total membership was 
about 2,600. 

In this era "colored missions" were quite prominent. Members of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South were acutely aware that they were 
condemned for acquiescing in slaveholding, and they were making sure 
that their responsibility to blacks as well as whites was being met. On 
almost every large plantation there was a Methodist mission — especial- 
ly where the plantation owner was a Methodist. These names were listed 
for missions in this era: Preston's, La Fourche, Bayou Black, Baton Rouge, 
Bastrop, Monroe, and Caddo. 

While we do not have official conference records listing local 
Methodist churches in Louisiana, data from the U. S. Government's 
seventh census and the official statistics of the United States for 1860 reveal 
the progress of the Methodist movement. From these sources, Raleigh 
A. Suarez found that the number of Methodist churches between 1850 
and 1860 increased from 125 to 199. Of these 125 churches in 1850, 120 
were listed as rural, and of the 199 in 1860, 181 were categorized as rural. 
In 1860 there were only nine parishes in the whole state without a 
Methodist church. Of the 306 churches in Louisiana in 1850, over a third 
of them, or 125, were Methodist. 5 

Organizing for Ministry 47 

Maturing of the Conference— and Preachers 

Succeeding annual conferences in Louisiana continued their role of 
seeking to (1) attract and develop effective ministers, (2) appoint ministers 
where they could best use their talents and meet the needs of the local 
church to which they were assigned, (3) encourage the formation of new 
churches wherever possible, (4) develop Christian characteristics and con- 
cerns among members, and (5) help to develop and maintain a Christian 
witness at home and abroad. 

Ministerial Membership 

In an effort to improve ministerial leadership, the conference raised 
the requirements for beginning preachers and occasionally dropped from 
membership those men who failed to show promise as ministers. Two 
pastors, for example, were reprimanded for not using the form for the 
Lord's Supper and baptism prescribed in the Discipline; another for malad- 
ministration resulting from faulty interpretation of the Discipline; and 
others for leaving their pastorates without proper clearance. 

Actions considered even more serious were those involving depart- 
ing from accepted Methodist doctrines. R. J. Harp in 1851 was charged 
with presenting "unMethodist" doctrines. A committee of investigation 
reported, "We find nothing heterodox in his opinions [but] that his terms 
are ambiguous and unfortunate and liable to be misunderstood" (Con- 
ference Journal, 1851). More serious were charges in 1859 that J. M. Hofer 
was preaching Swedenborgian doctrine, which held that the second com- 
ing of Christ had already occurred and that the traditional doctrine of 
the Trinity is incorrect. Hofer was pastor of the German mission in New 
Orleans. Church officials carefully questioned him about his beliefs, in 
response to which he turned in his Methodist credentials and withdrew 
from the conference. 

Occasionally, the conference decided it had used bad judgment in 
disciplinary action and restored ministerial credentials that it had earlier 
taken away. This was true in the case of William M. Curtis in 1849-50. 
A few members of the conference in that era had shifted to the Methodist 
Protestant Church. Among them was Reynolds Trippett in 1851, but he 
soon regretted the change and returned. Perhaps one can consider these 
problems normal for a system still in the making, and gradually more 
of those who "tried out" for the itinerant ministry made good. And the 
conference did not lack outstanding men, for among its members in this 
period were Holland N. McTyeire, Linus Parker, and John C. Keener, 
each of whom was later elected bishop. 


Becoming One People 

Holland Nimmons McTyeire 

Bishop Linus Parker 

John Christian Keener 

Encyclopedia of World Methodism 

Organizing for Ministry 49 


In 1850 the Louisiana conference renewed its approval of the coloniza- 
tion plan to 'Invite the free colored people of this country to the eligible 
relations and labor of civil and religious liberty of their own fatherland" 
(Conference Journal, 1850). In spite of strong urging by such Methodist 
leaders as William Winans and the approval of such national leaders as 
Thomas Jefferson, "there was never any massive conveying of blacks from 
the state, and Louisiana colonization must be judged an almost complete 
failure. According to the best source, the total number who left Louisiana 
for Africa was only 309." 6 However, the same account does report that 
small Baptist and Methodist churches were founded in Liberian towns 
named Millsburg and Louisiana. 

Book Depository 

As early as 1832, the General Conference authorized the opening of 
a book depository located in New Orleans at 20 Camp Street. William 
M. Curtis, member of the Mississippi Conference, was placed at its helm. 
Unfortunately, the patronage was not sufficient to keep it going, and in 
1836 it was discontinued. In 1855, the conference launched a movement 
to secure a building as a book depository and office for the Advocate. 7 By 
1858, the Advocate was located at 112 Camp Street, and it would prosper 
for the next twenty years. 8 

Lay Committeemen 

One of the most forward-looking actions the Louisiana Conference 
undertook came in 1853. A conference of laymen was created to meet 
at the same time and place as the ministerial conference, and it was 
arranged for laymen to share in conference decisions. This move came 
from ministerial initiative rather than pressure or overtures from laymen. 
They "pressingly" invited each quarterly conference "to select some one 
gentleman, a member of the church, to attend at the place where the next 
annual conference shall meet (New Orleans), to give aid and share in the 
Committee action of the conference upon the cause of Missions... Educa- 
tion... Sabbath school... Publications... the Support of the Ministry and 
Temperance." 9 General Conference would not have lay delegates at its 
sessions until 1870. 

Members of the "lay committee" at the 1858 conference were Cyrus 
Thompson, Carondolet St., New Orleans; A. P. King, Sparta Circuit; 
David Lawrence, Minden Circuit; A. D. Gaskill, Farmerville; Z. Preston, 
Waterproof; W. E. Doty (evidently a local lay preacher), Caddo; John 
Jordan, Chappell Hill; and A. M. Campbell, Mansfield. 

50 Becoming One People 

The "conference corporation" was formed by the state of Louisiana 
in 1855. Its first members were John C. Keener, H. N. McTyeire, Joel 
Sanders, Richmond Randle, J. B. Walker, S.J. Davies, Linus Parker, Philo 
M. Goodwyn, and L. A. Reed. Their function chiefly was to receive 
bequests for educational purposes, and to hold property for the con- 
ference. It came to be known as the legal conference and made reports 
each year. About a century later, in the late 1950s, the legal conference 
gradually merged with the conference trustees. This process was brought 
to completion in I960. 10 

Transfers and Drop-outs 

In its early years, the Louisiana Conference was very much depend- 
ent on preachers transferring into the state. Obviously Louisiana did not 
produce— or recruit— enough ministers to fill all the appointments. For 
many years some of the leading preachers were "transfers." Of course, 
there were occasional charges that the best appointments were going to 
"outsiders." But this was not a general feeling. One discontented person 
wrote the editor of the Advocate regarding "intruders who seek to be 'at 
ease in Zion/" McTyeire responded on June 21, 1851, pointing out that 
transferring was a very practical part of the Methodist system, for it 
brought ideas and convictions from other areas, helped to make a uni- 
formity in outlook among the different conferences, and symbolized the 
connectional element in Methodism. 

During these years many pastors had salaries insufficient to support 
their families and often were not even paid the insufficient salaries in full. 
The Advocate on July 3, 1852, asked, "How rich must a man be before 
he can afford to become an itinerant preacher?" When income would not 
support the minister and family, the article suggested, there were several 
options: the minister could (1) drop out of the ministry and enter other 
work; (2) shift into other types of ministry— such as teaching; or (3) arrange 
some way to supplement the salary— such as farming or teaching on the 
side. The same issue of the Advocate quoted one presiding elder as say- 
ing, "Most of the preachers are farming, while one at least merchandises, 
to make something upon which to subsist.... I have but small hope that 
any considerable success will attend Methodism in this country until 
preachers can go fully into the work of preaching and saving souls." 

As was true in other states and conferences, laymen who served as 
local preachers -though not members of the conference -deserve much 
credit for the spread of Methodism in these early years. For example, Dr. 
George Walter House in West Calcasieu "made his [medical] calls on 
horseback and could always be found on Sunday mornings holding ser- 
vices in the home of one of his patients." n John Henning, another effec- 
tive local preacher, formed at least three Methodist societies and with the 
help of two black men, one a Baptist and one a Methodist, built a church 

Organizing for Ministry 51 

at Sulphur City. Mrs. Henning held a lantern for the workmen when the 
daylight faded. 12 

The Preacher's Role 

In this era of Louisiana Methodism, the place of the preacher was 
crucial. Although there were many devoted and capable laymen in various 
parts of the state, there was nevertheless much more dependence on the 
ordained preacher than there would be later, when the laity played a larger 
role in leadership. This is illustrated by a plea from a person in the 
Alexandria area who wrote for the Advocate of December 3, 1849: "It is 
a moral wilderness here full of ignorance, superstition, and infidelity; a 
land of darkness... and of the shadow of death.... [CJannot something 
be done for them?.... If you can, send us a preacher here, to raise up 
Societies and reclaim backslidden church members. " 

As a Preacher 

The popular use of the word "preacher" in this era indicates society's 
designation of the clergyman's primary function— to preach. The term 
pastor or minister was not widely used then. Services were not thought 
of as worship services but as preaching services. These preaching services 
were thought of as occasions for winning converts and reclaiming 
backsliders rather than as nurturing the understanding and commitment 
of the converts. This was a natural result of the situation, for the preacher 
had only a brief time with his listeners. Most churches were on circuits 
of eight, ten, or twelve preaching places and had preaching only occa- 
sionally and in its turn, when the preacher made his scheduled rounds. 
In his absence, the local preachers (who farmed or made their living other- 
wise) took care of the members' need for pastoral oversight. 

Often, preaching by the circuit rider would occur only once a month 
and not always on Sundays. When the preacher arrived, he would ordi- 
narily preach two or three times a day to those who gathered at one of 
the homes— or out under a tree. The preacher expected his preaching to 
result not only in definite decisions of loyalty to Christ and the church 
but also in changed lives and activities. That was demonstrated at Green- 
wood in the 1840s when Joel Sanders was sent to Caddo circuit. Since 
there was no Methodist church building, he preached in a community 
center used for both educational and recreational purposes. "On one occa- 
sion he said, This day four weeks I will preach here again, provided you 
don't dance any more in this house; in that case I shall not preach.' The 
day for preaching came, but there had been a ball in the house.... True 
to himself, he made his bow and bid them good-by. The circumstance 
created much excitement." 13 

52 Becoming One People 

One practice that was prevalent in earlier years among Methodists— in 
Louisiana and elsewhere— was to commend and affirm statements in a 
prayer or sermon by a clearly stated "Amen" by someone in the congrega- 
tion. The Advocate applauded this practice: "How cheering to the preacher 
to be assured that his congregation is not only listening to him but wor- 
shipping with him! ... [A] well-put AMEN. . .assures him. . .that at least two 
or three are agreed [with him].... Be not ashamed, Methodist people, of 
amen." 14 

As a Revivalist 

Revivals provided one of the main occasions for winning converts 
and reviving lukewarm members. A writer in the Advocate for May 14, 
1853 maintained that "without a continued perseverance in extraordinary 
religious efforts Methodist churches must become extinct from natural 
and other causes. . . . Methodist societies owe their existence, their origin, 
and their perpetuity, to religious revivals." Often a visiting preacher— a 
nearby pastor or the presiding elder— would be secured as the revival 

Another technique to reach the people with the gospel was devised 
in 1855 by J. A. Ivey of Moreau Street Church in New Orleans. He held 
open-air preaching on Sunday evenings about six o'clock at Washington 
Square. "His first congregation was mostly composed of the fire-engine 
and hook and ladder companies nearby. The listeners were orderly, and 
evinced a disposition to secure order." 15 

As A Sermonizer 

The minister as preacher received good advice from an article carried 
in the Advocate as well as elsewhere on "serial sermons." It was written 
by Thomas O. Summers, prolific writer and book editor in Nashville, who 
advised, "We can not maintain status in the community... unless there 
be variety, fulness, and originality in our pulpit ministrations." He then 
went on to recommend various possibilities — a doctrinal series, a devo- 
tional one, a moral course, an apologetic course, a historical series, or 
a biographical course. Likely, numerous Louisiana preachers profited by 
his advice. 16 

As a Song Leader 

Singing was another element popular in Methodist services then— 
and later. However, one writer in the Advocate for July 24, 1852, noted 
a lack of spirit in singing, which he believed was due to neglect of The 
Methodist Hymnal. He speculated that this situation had arisen because 
people were used to having the words "lined out" to them, and thus they 

Organizing for Ministry 53 

did not get to know the words by reading them. As a result they sang 
only the few they knew. Two readers of the Advocate were involved in 
an argument a year and a week later as to whether there was direct Scrip- 
tural authority for instrumental music in public worship. One writer based 
his affirmation on the Old Testament, but the other insisted that the Jewish 
ritual services furnished no authority whatever for Christian worship. 
Preachers then, as well as now, deplored the desecration of the Sab- 
bath in southern Louisiana. In the May 3, 1851, Advocate, one writer charg- 
ed that "the cause of spiritual dearth in our midst... is the almost univer- 
sal desecration of the Holy Sabbath/' He drew his examples from Sab- 
bath work on the plantations; he could have gotten even more illustra- 
tions from the city of New Orleans. 

Sacramental Modes and Practices 

The sacrament of the Lord's Supper was neglected in most areas in 
Louisiana in these years. Probably the chief reasons were preoccupation 
with the daily round of wresting a living from the soil and the infrequency 
of visits by ministers. Baptism was considered an essential in joining the 
church and was invariably practiced in receiving a new member. Much 
controversy occurred— especially between Methodists and Baptists— as 
to the proper mode of baptism. Methodists accepted pouring, sprinkling, 
and immersion as valid but ordinarily poured or sprinkled. Baptists insis- 
ted that immersion was the only proper mode. Methodist ministers would 
immerse if the person requested that mode. John Pipes recounted the 
time in 1844 when J. C. Woolam was pastor in Caddo Parish and had 
several persons requesting immersion as they joined the church at 
Shreveport. Woolam "immersed them in Red River. As the rabble stood 
on the bank and witnessed the scene, one was heard to say: 'We have 
seen persons immersed here before, but these are the first that we ever 
saw come out alive.'" 17 

Although Methodists do not consider the last rite for the dead a sacra- 
ment, as Catholics do, it will be mentioned here. There was a decided 
difference between the Catholic and Protestant approaches to rites for 
the dead— seen chiefly in the Catholic policy of charging fees. The Advocate 
carried a forthright article in 1855 deploring the fact that Catholic priests 
conducted funerals for a set fee. Methodist ministers, the article pointed 
out, properly made no charge and usually expected no contribution for 
the service. 18 

Visiting in Homes and Elsewhere 

Circuit riders certainly knew the home life— the joys and cares— of 
their parishioners, for they often lived with them. This was especially 

54 Becoming One People 

true of unmarried preachers, who often had no other home than those 
of members and friends on the charge. 

Of special interest is the attention given by some ministers to visiting 
the hospital or the insane asylum, as it was called, near Jackson, Loui- 
siana. A letter in the Advocate for August 19, 1854, by "Woodsman'' 
(thought to be Linus Parker, later bishop) described the buildings as 
"scrupulously neat and tidy." The patients were assigned to areas on the 
basis of their behavior and the severity of their condition. And they were 
diagnosed as suffering from dementia mania, melancholy, and 
monomania. "Woodsman" considered the hospital a "noble State char- 
ity." A similar article in the Advocate for January 4, 1859, referred to the 
asylum's existence as resulting from the benevolence of the state as it tried 
to relieve the distressed. 

Less complimentary was an article in the Advocate on March 24, 1855, 
regarding the Louisiana Legislature's closing session of the season. It con- 
demned the "rowdyism" that went on in that assembly of lawmakers and 
specified their showering pellets, pamphlets, and reports on the bald head 
of the speaker. "Though called the 'Lower House' some of its members 
were pretty 'high,'" the writer punned. 

In a more constructive vein, John W. Harmon reported on a visit to 
Marine Hospital at New Orleans and suggested that the church should 
encourage the addition of a chaplain to the hospital staff. 

Housing for Local Churches and Preachers 

All the conferences that were held, all the preachers that were 
ordained, all the publications that were prepared had the one purpose 
of strengthening local churches, where the gospel was proclaimed and 
the members nurtured. It is there that the basic work of ministry is done— 
and especially in earlier years. The first Discipline of Methodism in America 
instructed the preachers to organize societies (or congregations) through 
which to minister to old and new converts. Visiting from house to house 
was also encouraged. Instructions were given regarding local church 
ministries and Methodist standards of behavior. Probably it was no longer 
necessary to caution Methodist women in this era against wearing "High- 
Heads, enormous Bonnets, Ruffles or Rings," as was done at Baltimore 
in 1784, when the first Discipline included such an exhortation. It was 
necessary, however, to call all Methodists in Louisiana as well as 
elsewhere in the nation to "reform the Continent, and to spread Scrip- 
tural Holiness over these Lands." 19 

There were forty-seven appointments made in 1847 at the first Loui- 
siana Conference, which probably meant there were about 150 preaching 
places. Many of these congregations had no regular indoor meeting place 
used exclusively for preaching services. Some churches, such as Shady 
Grove, the Haynesville Methodist Protestant Church, the Colquitt 

Organizing for Ministry 55 

Church, and Liberty Chapel Church in Grant Parish met under brush 
arbors in good weather. Others met in the cabins of members or interested 
friends. Most of the earliest churches were constructed of logs; later 
builders used hand-hewn planks and square head nails. Blacks often sup- 
plied much of the labor for building. A number of the buildings had one 
side designated for women and the other for men, with separate entrance 
doors. Most were not heated in winter. If a church was lucky enough 
to have a bell, it would probably double as the community fire alarm. 

Many of the buildings were multi-purpose. For example, Alabama 
Church (in Union Parish on the Claiborne Parish line) built a small 
building, a large brush arbor, and a two story building. The brush arbor 
was for camp meetings and revivals, and the small building was for 
regular Sunday services, Sunday school, and other such occasions. The 
two-story structure housed the Masonic Lodge upstairs and the village 
school downstairs. 

One early Methodist church building in Louisiana was built in Pla- 
quemine Brulee (north of Rayne) in 1820. It was a Spanish style struc- 
ture, with walls made of wooden sticks intertwined with twigs and 
branches painted white. Methodist building proceeded slowly in New 
Orleans. The first congregations met in warehouses, in shops, under 
sheds, in outdoor places, and in private homes. About 1825, William 
Wirians secured a lot in New Orleans and was able with the help of Judge 
Edward McGehee to get a building erected for the Gravier Street Church. 
It was a frame building, plastered within and costing $1,750. It was 
replaced in 1852 with a new, more spacious structure. 20 

There was a great deal of cooperation among some Protestant 
denominations in erecting or using church buildings. At Delhi, for exam- 
ple, Methodists and Presbyterians shared a church structure -each for 
half time. Usually such arrangements as this worked out fairly well. There 
were, however, some exceptions. In 1852 Methodist pastor Thomas J. Lacy 
arrived in Donaldsonville to find the building owned by the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South occupied by an Episcopal minister and his con- 
gregation. Lacy reported he was told "that it would be disagreeable and 
tend to create dissatisfaction for the Methodist minister to occupy the 
Methodist Church half the time/' Since Methodist use of their building 
had been somewhat sporadic, the Episcopal priest felt he had some claim 
to the property and was reluctant to agree to share on an equal basis. 
Lacy had to let the Episcopal congregation have it and leave Donaldson- 
ville or take full control of the building. He decided to do the latter! 21 
The ecumenical spirit was also shown by individuals, as when a 
Methodist, William Claiborne Vernon, in 1857 deeded five acres of land 
to the Saints Rest Baptist Church in Claiborne Parish. 

56 Becoming One People 

Problems in Building and Paying for Churches 

Providing adequate facilities was a burden for most congregations. 
They often found that debts on their church buildings were hard to pay 
and necessitated sacrificial efforts from their members. In one such case 
in Baton Rouge in I860, the church announced a plan to improve and 
enlarge their building. Upon hearing of it, black members sought to help 
finance the project and raised $500 to apply on the cost. 22 And there were 
occasional fires that destroyed or damaged fine buildings. In 1851 fire 
destroyed all but the walls of Poydras Street Church in New Orleans. 
It was rebuilt, but in the process, the roof was not properly planned and 
caved in— fortunately not on a Sunday. 23 

Occasionally, there were financial tangles over church buildings. 
When the church at Thibodaux was being built in 1854-55, the pastor col- 
lected money for the furnishings but did not apply it on the bill. 
Presumably he put it in his own pocket. At annual conference, he was 
tried for this offense and, when found guilty, was expelled from the con- 
ference. Elijah Steele Chapel also had controversy over its property. In 
1849 while the church was without a pastor, James Ross, acting presi- 
dent of the board of trustees, authorized the sale of a lot the church 
owned. Later Ross left the church, and the new board formed another 
committee to sell the church's property, not knowing of Ross's action. 
The matter finally resulted in litigation lasting nine years but ending in 
the church's favor. 24 

The importance of good buildings and furnishings in providing a wor- 
shipful atmosphere were stressed in an 1855 article in the Advocate enti- 
tled "Plan of a Comfortable Church." It stated that "people will think more 
of a good church than they can of a poor one.... Let there be a neat altar 
for sacramental and revival occasions. Don't think of omitting this." 25 


One of the serious deficiencies of the early Louisiana churches was 
a home for their pastors. This was not surprising in a newly settled coun- 
try, but it worked a hardship on the pastor's family. The earliest pastors 
did not need a home for a family, since most of them were single. But 
for the married pastors it was a different matter. In 1853 the conference 
requested pastors thereafter to report on the building of parsonages as 
well as churches. This seemed to stimulate such building. P. M. Goodwyn 
wrote in the Advocate on September 13, 1851, "We have been living in 
the parsonage, now, about six months, and between you and me and 
everybody, we find this far preferable to living in other people's houses, 
even though they be our friends." 

The pastor's wife at Plaquemine who signed her name as Kate (she 
was Mrs. Henry Avery) wrote for the same paper on October 27, 1855, 

Organizing for Ministry 57 

about their new parsonage: "The house contains six comfortable rooms, 
and a front and back gallery, convenient out-houses, and a large cistern, 
all of which were built, furnished and paid for in the short space of two 
months... mainly owing to the generosity and active energy of Mrs. Gay 
and Mrs. Reames. . . . We. . .hope other stations will imitate their good exam- 

Encouragement by presiding elders helped increase the number of 
parsonages, and by December, 1860, the Journal reported these numbers 
and values of parsonages, by districts: New Orleans, 4, $9,300; Opelousas, 
4, $7,000; Monroe, 4, $8,600; Lake Providence, 3, $4,300; Shreveport, 2, 
$1,300; and Homer, 1, $400. 

Sunday Schools Grow 

The Sabbath schools, as they were called in the early days, were the 
chief agencies for nurturing new members in local churches. In 1847 there 
were twenty-two Sunday schools in thirty-four white appointments, with 
a total enrollment of 895 students and 123 teachers. These members had 
access to 3,257 books in the Sunday school libraries. The conference 
established a committee on Sabbath schools at its very first session, in 

The conference of 1850 petitioned the General Conference to establish 
a Sabbath school department in Nashville. In 1853 it approved a plan seek- 
ing to raise $500 for the publishing house at Nashville to publish 100 or 
more new books for the Sabbath school library. 

In December, 1858, the conference learned that there were eighty- 
one Sunday schools, 534 teachers and officers; 3,638 children; and 22,154 
volumes in libraries. The conference also adopted a report stating: "All 
feel that we must more and more continue to look to the Sabbath School 
as a principal arm of service to the church militant in her march to the 
moral conquest of the world." But they faced problems: "A large propor- 
tion of our population speak a language, and hold to religious opinions 
widely different from our own, and are almost inaccessible to our efforts." 

Stress on the importance of Sunday schools can be seen in other 
actions taken in the conference. The lay committee set up a section on 
Sunday schools, and the conference committee on Sunday schools was 
placed under the strong leadership of Joseph B. Walker. The 1859 Con- 
ference Journal called the Sunday school "the greatest and most unfailing 
tributary to every interest of the Church." 

Studying the Bible was indispensable for those preparing to teach 
in Sunday schools— and most emphasis was placed on knowing biblical 
accounts and teachings. This "led to an almost hysterical emphasis 
upon... memorization." 26 There was also considerable attention given to 
the catechism. And later on various kinds of awards were given in the 


Becoming One People 

form of certificates and pins for good attendance and for reciting the 
greatest number of Bible verses. 

At the 1846 General Conference delegates from Louisiana and 
Mississippi proposed establishing a southwide monthly periodical 
devoted to biblical literature. The conference responded by establishing 
a Sunday school department and planning a Sunday school journal. By 
1854 the General Conference provided two editors for Sunday school 
resources. It also held a rather progressive philosophy of Christian educa- 
tion, as reflected in the following statement: "We must look for sound 
conversions more as the blessed sequence of a system of thorough 
religious education, than as the result of those sudden and overwhelm- 
ing conversions which characterized those times when such training was 
impossible.../' 27 

Conference Sponsored Education 

The conference also realized the importance of maintaining adequate 
colleges for training both lay and ministerial persons. Thus it continued 
to strengthen Centenary College, which it considered more its respon- 
sibility since it was now located in Louisiana rather than Mississippi. David 
O. Shattuck became its president when it was moved to Jackson, Loui- 
siana in 1845, and its growth there was rapid and its usefulness greatly 
enlarged. In 1849 the distinguished Augustus B. Longstreet of Georgia 
became president of Centenary but resigned after a few months because 


Encyclopedia of World Methodism 


of what he considered an impossible tangle of student and administrative 
responsibilities. In 1857 a new main building was erected at a cost of 

Organizing for Ministry 59 

$60,000, which was described in the Conference Journal in 1885 as "perhaps 
unsurpassed for beauty, elegance, and spaciousness." Centenary's enroll- 
ment by 1860 was 260, and its library had 7,000 books, compared to that 
of the largest among Methodist schools, Emory and Henry College of 
Virginia, with 11,000. 28 

The conference affirmed the importance of education for women and 
committed itself to sustaining as many "female schools" as could 
be organized. One of the first was Mansfield Female College, established 
in 1854 through the efforts of Henry Coleman Thweatt and William E. 
Doty. They raised subscriptions of $25,000, and in 1856 a new brick 
building was completed. The conference adopted the school, and Dr. 
Thweatt served as the first president. "Many of the fair daughters of 
wealthy planters soon found their way to its instruction," reported the 
Conference Journal of 1885. When Thweatt retired in 1860, Charles B. Stuart 
of Randolph-Macon College in Virginia became president. 

One of the earliest Mansfield graduates, Sally Moss Bannerman, wrote 
about the first graduation class, which had two members, Mrs. Mollie 
Stuart Elam and Mrs. Virginia E. DuBois. She reported, "I remember the 
call for money that day, for the purpose of purchasing that old bell, light- 
ning rods, and a chemical apparatus.... Dr. Thweatt knew when and 
where to make that important call, and the good people under that rustic 
arbor responded liberally and with alacrity— the bell and lightning rods 
were paid for and $1,700 subscribed for the apparatus." 29 The college insis- 
ted on specific religious practices; in 1858 one rule for students read: "Each 
student shall attend church every Sunday, recite a Bible lesson every Mon- 
day, and attend religious exercises every morning before classes begin." 30 
There was a constant struggle to keep the college afloat financially. In 
fact, in 1860 the college was sold for debts to Lewis Phillips, one of the 
friends of the school. He saved it for the church and sold it back for $600 
in 1864, when Bishop J. C. Keener was able by the hardest to raise that 

In 1855 Richmond Randle was appointed agent for Homer College, 
and by 1860 a building was completed and 115 students were attending. 
Baxter Clegg was the first president and W. D. Shea the second. In 1863 
Homer College was the only school reporting to the conference. Friction 
arose between college and conference over efforts by the college to obtain 
mandatory subscriptions to its endowment funds through conference 
legislation. The last reference to Homer College in conference minutes 
was in 1880 when the college's poor financial condition was noted. 

Pierce and Paine College at Pleasant Hill was launched in 1860 with 
endowment funds of $50,000. Conference members such as B. F. 
Alexander and John Pipes were active in founding it. But there is no firm 
evidence that it was ever operated by the church. Its greatest distinction 
came from its owning the six hundred acres on which the battle of Pleasant 

60 Becoming One People 

Hill was fought during the Civil War. Part of the land was later given 
to the State of Louisiana as a memorial park. 31 

In addition, many semiprivate schools were organized in this era in 
close cooperation with the church. Among them were schools for young 
women in Minden, Baton Rouge, Jackson, and Opelousas that had some 
Methodist connection. With the coming of public education most of these 
schools were discontinued. 32 

Growing resentment and apprehension in the South over northern 
abolitionist activities were reflected in conference legislation regarding 
schools. The conference in 1859 adopted a resolution against employing 
teachers from the North and East in Louisiana Conference schools and 
colleges. The resolution called instead for the securing of teachers and 
professors who were graduates of southern institutions. 

Louisiana was blessed with outstanding leaders in southern Methodist 
education in those years. Some of the strongest men of the conference 
served as presidents of the boards of trustees for colleges and schools. 
And several were prominent in the churchwide educational institute (the 
agency that eventually led the way in founding Vanderbilt University). 
Among its members were Holland N. McTyeire, W. W. Drake, J. A. Ivey, 
and James B. Dodd, former Centenary professor. 33 Edward McGehee con- 
tinued to give unusually generous financial support. He contributed no 
less than $70,000 to Centenary College. 34 

Women of the Church 

Women were obviously a very important part of the church. They 
usually made up a majority of its members. They were often more 
dedicated in their religious loyalty than their male counterparts, and they 
often provided the "glue" that held local churches together. Unfortunately, 
records of their role in church organizations are rather sparse until a later 

Wives of slaveholding planters had a special responsibility. It was 
their task to encourage religious faith among the slaves. One commen- 
tator described her mother's response to this obligation thus: "The Masters 
and Mistresses were liable not only for care of their Servants' bodies, but 
for their Souls. She held Religious instruction a duty and on Sundays 
regularly assembled all who would attend and read the Scriptures." 35 
Some mistresses taught their slaves to read the Bible, even though 
teaching slaves to read was against the law in many states. 

In her Old Times in Dixie Land, Caroline Thomas Merrick (Mrs. Edwin 
T.), a Louisiana Methodist, wrote: "It is folly to talk about... the traditional 
Southern woman of the books, who sat and rocked herself with a slave 
fanning her on both sides. . . . The antebellum woman of culture and posi- 
tion in the South was a woman of affairs.... She was trained to meet 

Organizing for Ministry 61 

responsibilities/' 36 Among those responsibilities were her church and 
religious duties. There are numerous accounts of how women in Loui- 
siana Methodist churches provided assistance in teaching in Sunday 
schools and in looking after the appearance of churches and the comfort 
of parsonages. Pastor N. A. Cravens of Franklin, Louisiana wrote in the 
June 2, 1855, Advocate, "The ladies of Pattersonville connected with our 
Church are. . .moving in reference to Church improvement. . . . They have 
taken the matter in hand, and you know that failure does not attend 
female effort in such enterprises. They will carpet the altar, mat the aisle, 
and whitewash the inside of the church; purchase lamps and improve 
the seats." 

The women who were in charge of Methodist schools for young 
women in Louisiana received high praise from the conference. Mrs. Mary 
White Read of the Female Seminary at Baton Rouge was called a gifted 
and talented principal, and Mrs. Mary Davis and her daughter, Ella, at 
New Iberia Female Institute were operating a thoroughly fine school.* 
Another example was Mrs. Carolyn Matilda Thayer, head of schools at 
Donaldsonville and Harrisonburg, "and a lady of masculine mind 
[evidently the highest praise for a woman!] and literary celebrity.... She 
wrote both prose and poetry with vigor and elegance; she had wonder- 
ful conversational powers, great facility of argument and aptness of quota- 
tion, and a fountain of humor and anecdote apparently inexhaustible." 37 

The New Orleans Christian Advocate, A Paper for Louisiana 

At the 1848 session of the Louisiana Conference, a proposal was made 
to create a paper which would keep the membership informed about 
Methodist activities and viewpoints. Following the General Conference 
in St. Louis that year, the returning delegates from Alabama, Arkansas, 
Mississippi, and Louisiana discussed the possibility of creating such a 
publication. They agreed that a paper to serve Methodists in these four 
states was desirable. On July 10, 1850, a "specimen" paper was issued 
from New Orleans, with Jefferson Hamilton as editor. 38 Although this 
trial issue was not particularly successful, the committee in charge of the 
project persuaded Holland N. McTyeire, pastor at Felicity Street Church 
in New Orleans, to take on the editorship in addition to his pastorate. 

McTyeire was a good choice as editor. He had recently had his first 
book published under the title, Duties of Christian Masters to Their Servants. 

Mrs. W. M. Nolan of Oak Ridge Church, who is especially well-informed about 
the history of Louisiana Methodism, is a great niece of Mrs. Davis and also 
of Mrs. Margaret White Hayes of Opelousas Female Institute. Mrs. Nolan's 
mother attended both Opelousas Female Institute and Mrs. Read's Seminary. 

62 Becoming One People 

The Baptist State Convention of Alabama awarded it a $200 prize. He 
had shown his mettle when he first came to New Orleans as pastor of 
three small congregations, which he merged to form Felicity Street 
Church, and stayed by his flock during a seige of yellow fever in the city 
from 1847 to 1853. He also served several black congregations in those 

A member of Felicity Church, J. W. Crockett, was with a publishing 
firm, the Crescent Company, which agreed to print and mail out the new 
paper. Soon, however, a member of the firm was killed in a duel and 
another sold his interest. Nevertheless, the struggling paper survived until 
the General Conference in 1854 awarded the project a grant of $2,000. 
With these funds the managers of the Advocate were able to purchase their 
own press and quarters. The engine for the press was a gift from a 
Methodist from Waterproof named Curry. 39 

McTyeire remained editor of the paper until 1858, when he became 
editor of the churchwide Nashville Christian Advocate. His editorship in 
New Orleans made him known across the church as "a man of uncom- 
mon quality [who] had risen up — a man not afraid, having opinions, 
and a gift in expressing them/' 40 Bishop Keener said McTyeire's leaving 
almost meant the death of the Advocate. 

Clayton C. Gillespie came from the editorship of the Texas Christian 
Advocate to be McTyeire's successor. He stayed until the Civil War made 
it impossible to continue publication. Gillespie then became colonel of 
a Texas regiment. By 1853 the paper had a circulation of 5,000 and by 
1860, 8,000. In 1858 subscriptions brought in $9,351, and advertising 
brought $2,076. Expenses were $9,724. 

German Methodists Increase 

Having gained a foothold among the Germans in New Orleans in 
the early 1840s, the Methodists continued their mission to them. 
Emigrants arrived from Germany almost every week, and soon New 
Orleans had more people of German descent than any other city in the 

Carl Bremer bought a lot on Piety Street in New Orleans and in 1847 
organized a second German church. Unfortunately Bremer's health failed, 
and he died in September, 1847. Another German pastor, Bremer 
Brickwedel, died about the same time. Others, however, continued the 
effort. Among them were John A. Pauly, Matthias Maas, Gerhard 
Busmann, Peter Schmucker, Nicholas Brickwedel, Charles A. Schranam, 
Charles Reihly, E. R. Kriege, Frederick W. Traeger, and August Arnold. 

A German church called Erato was soon organized, and John Martin 
Hofer was pastor there from 1848 to 1853, when the membership was 
seventy-five. 41 By 1851 there were four preaching places for Germans and 

Organizing for Ministry 63 

three church buildings. They obtained German language literature 
published by the Methodist Episcopal Church in Cincinnati. Hofer wrote, 
"the greatest part of the Germans are very wicked and ungodly — Sabbath- 
breaking, dancing, drinking, gambling, profane swearing.... O, how 
important it is for the Church of God to have a light in our midst.../' 42 
The German missions in New Orleans were considered a significant 
and much needed ministry in the city. However, they were weak and 
struggling and needed help in providing the proper services for their con- 
stituency. In 1857 the First German Mission Church made a plea for help 
in building their church. It was said to be the oldest and most important 
congregation in the denomination. The plea they sent out was "Help! 
help!! help!!! " 43 Evidently they received help; in 1858 they built a new 
$18,000 meeting house. Church membership then was reported at sixty, 
and it doubled in two years. By 1860 the four German Missions in New 
Orleans had 221 members, sixty-four probationers, and 335 children in 
Sunday school. A Franklin German Mission had thirteen probationers, 
but the conference was advised that the German population there was 
not large enough to warrant continuing the work. 

Methodist Protestants Progress 

Meanwhile, Methodist Protestants were making progress. By 1854 
Louisiana reported six circuits and one mission; there were thirteen 
itinerants, 676 members, twenty houses of worship, and no parsonages. 44 
Peyton S. Greaves, who had earlier belonged to the M. E. Church, South, 
Mississippi Conference, was the ministerial delegate to the 1850 Methodist 
Protestant General Conference. In 1857 he went back to his former con- 
ference and inquired about being readmitted, but there were objections 
from some former colleagues. John G. Jones reported that when Greaves 
left the Methodist conference, it had deplored the loss of a man with such 
great promise. 45 

F. L. B. Shaver, M. P. minister from Montgomery, Alabama, reported 
in 1856 46 on a trip he took west, stopping off at New Orleans and other 
places in Louisiana. In New Orleans he assisted Joseph Dutch in organiz- 
ing a black church for his denomination. Dutch had been a licensed local 
preacher for seven years in the M. E. Church, South. From there Shaver 
went north to the Ouachita area where he preached at Union Chapel, 
where "Bro. Bower" was pastor. 

George Washington Johnson was another prominent Methodist Prot- 
estant in this era, both as a minister and a doctor. A native of Ohio, he 
reached Louisiana in 1844. He served as pastor, presiding elder, and presi- 
dent of the Louisiana M. P. Conference, which he helped organize in 1846. 
He was a delegate to the M. P. General Conference in 1854 and again 
in 1858 and to a special nonepiscopal Methodist convention in Cincinnati 

64 Becoming One People 

in 1866. He moved to Texas in 1868, where he continued to be a leader 
in the M. P. Church. 47 

Methodist Protestant ministers also faced danger and hardship. The 
Journal of the 1858 M. P. conference reported that one preacher had 
dropped from sight and had not been heard from in three years. The 
difficulties of the ministerial task discouraged some who might have been 
candidates and thinned the ranks of those already in service. Some 
Methodist Protestants expressed the fear "of a total failure in Louisiana/ 7 
Members of the conference saw clearly that their most pressing need was 
for more ministers. 

The Methodist Protestant was unusual in those years among church 
papers in open acknowledgment of and praise for the contributions 
women were making to human welfare. In 1856 it carried an article declar- 
ing that many women with their clear sighted, quick acting minds have 
done more for the men in their lives — husband, brother, son — to attain 
high rank than any or all other influences put together. On April 28, 1860, 
it carried an article calling for greater appreciation for "Foremothers" as 
well as "Forefathers ." 

Bloodshed and the threat of war caused great concern throughout 
the M. P. Church. The December 10, 1859, issue of their church paper 
referred to John Brown after his raid on Harper's Ferry as "the murderer 
of innocent and unoffending citizens." On June 2, 1860, the paper declared 
that "recent events... even... threaten dissolution of the states." Three 
weeks later it charged that "the Methodist Episcopal Church is now a 
thoroughly abolitionist body." "Why do we thirst for a brother's blood, 
or who gave us the right to destroy him who was made in the image of 
our Maker?" were the questions raised by W. Raby of Georgetown, D. 
C. in the paper for April 27, 1866. 

Methodism in the Local Churches 

The local church was basic in winning and nurturing converts. Much 
of the leadership for this ministry -though not all -depended on the 
preacher. Because of the importance of this leadership, the Louisiana M. 
E. Church, South Conference gave close supervision and encouragement 
to its ministerial members. Some of that encouragement came from efforts 
to provide them with adequate salaries. In 1855 the conference offered 
a prize of $200 for the best paper on "The Claims of the Christian Ministry 
to Support." The contest was open to anyone in the whole 
denomination. 48 

Bishop James O. Andrew, who presided at Louisiana conference ses- 
sions in 1853, 1855, and 1859, charged that Methodists had a tendency 
to start churches and then neglect their growth, leaving them unatten- 
ded. 49 To the contrary in Louisiana in 1855, there seemed to be an 

Organizing for Ministry 65 

adequate number of ministers for the membership. In that year the Loui- 
siana churches had a membership of 10,599 and had a pastor for every 
eighty-four persons. This ratio compared favorably with the situation in 
South Carolina, where there was a minister for every 205 members. In 
the Pacific Conference, however, there was one minister for every six- 
teen church members. 50 

These figures do not include the local preachers, who did not belong 
to the annual conference but who did contribute much to pastoral over- 
sight, especially among black members. Local preachers were very impor- 
tant if the minister had a large circuit and thus could not spend much 
time in any one church or had to divide his time among an unusually 
large membership, as was true in some of the black churches. In 1855 
the three black Methodist churches in New Orleans presented their local 
preachers each with a suit of clothes, plus shoes and hat; they were Henry 
Green, Anthony Ross, and Scott Chinn-all slaves. These black churches, 
an account says, "are large and orderly, and enjoy the good will and pro- 
tection of the city authorities. They are spiritually prosperous, also, and 
do much good." 51 

New Orleans continued to be one of the places where Methodism— 
and all religious groups— made slow progress. Bishop George F. Pierce, 
who stopped off at New Orleans on his way to California in 1859 wrote: 

The week spent here was one of unmingled pleasure. Renewed inter- 
course with chosen friends... letters from home... access to all the 
church papers.... Nevertheless, as I wandered about, and looked up 
on the throng of the busy and the gay, sad, depressing thoughts 
would intrude. How few among these thousands "fear God and keep 
his commandments!" What temptations to earthliness, sensuality, and 
sin abound! . . . Buy, sell, get gain, make haste, get away, the yellow 
fever comes. . . . But after all, I see not that New Orleans is more wicked 
than other great cities...." 52 

Hardships of Travel to Churches 

On January 3, 1852, Holland N. McTyeire wrote in the Advocate what 
was probably the understatement of the year -or decade: "There is room 
for great improvement in traveling facilities in Louisiana." This factor was 
especially hard on the itinerant, circuit preacher. In earlier days they used 
horses, boats, stagecoaches— and sometimes they walked. But by this era 
better boats were available, and in the 1830s and 1840s some short rail 
lines were built, though they did not cover the state by any means. One 
of these railroads, The West Feliciana and Woodville, had as its chief 
stockholder Judge McGehee, and thus preachers got to ride free. Linus 
Parker told about riding on it in 1854: "There were two freight cars and 
one passenger car. They traveled twenty-seven miles in five hours. It did 

66 Becoming One People 

not run on Sundays, and not a single life was ever lost by accident— 
probably a world record !" 53 

These new modes of travel were decidedly in contrast to the experi- 
ence of preachers traveling to Minden for conference in 1849. John Pipes 
wrote about that trip some years later (February 5, 1885) in the Advocate. 
He told of Bishop Paine and about fifteen preachers from New Orleans 
leaving the city on a small Red River steamer. Others joined the steamer 
at different landings on the way, so that there were about twenty-five 
of them when they got to Campti. There they found the river at low ebb, 
and they had to disembark— seventy-five miles from Minden. Their 
friends in Minden had anticipated their dilemma and met them with a 
drove of ponies and horses, and soon they were on their way. They trav- 
eled about thirty miles that day, stopping at an inn at night. Some of the 
German preachers, not being used to horseback riding, were completely 
worn out and had to be helped from the horses to bed. The next day being 
Sunday, they rested, and the bishop preached. Monday evening they 
got to Minden and spent Tuesday in much needed rest. Wednesday the 
conference session began. 

"Woodsman" of Shreveport (presumably Linus Parker) wrote on 
October 2, 1852, in the Advocate about the excitement and enthusiasm the 
general public felt over the plans to build a "commodious plank road" 
from Shreveport to the Texas line, and also a railroad running from 
Vicksburg to Marshall, Texas. Then he commented on what the benefits 
of these improvements in travel would be to the itinerant preacher. 

Methodists in Civic Leadership 

Local Methodist churches numbered among their members some who 
were active in civic, political, and business affairs in the state. Thomas 
McCaleb, for example, was Secretary of State for Louisiana; the Honorable 
E. T. Merrick, member of the Centenary College Board of Trustees, was 
Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court. Uriah Whatley, a native 
of Louisiana, pastor intermittently in the conference (1832-35, 1837-50, 
1855-64) represented his parish in the state legislature from 1853 to 1855. 

Squabbling Within "The Family" -and Without 

The two episcopal Methodisms in America did not live up to their 
separation agreement of 1844 to stay within designated territory. Both 
branches were guilty, and each charged the other with disregarding the 
agreement and failing to show the spirit of brotherly love. Each side 
ignored the high sounding goal and agreement of 1844 "to meet the 
emergency with Christian kindness and the strictest equity." 54 

The General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1848 
declared that "the South had forfeited, by their unscriptural course, all 

Organizing for Ministry 67 

right to be considered a sound branch of Methodism/' and declared the 
agreed upon plan of separation null and void. 55 

The southern branch taunted the northerners for refusing to carry 
out the 1844 agreement to divide the value of the Book Concern 
(publishing houses) between the two churches. The M. E. Church, South 
was forced to bring suit for their share ($191,000) and to go to the United 
States Supreme Court for a favorable decision, which they secured in 
1854. 56 

The churchwide controversy over these issues did not involve local 
churches as much as pastors, editors, and bishops, but the Advocate 
reflected some of the tension. Methodist Episcopal minister-editor Charles 
Elliott, in the Southwestern Methodism, used terms such as "blindness" and 
"savage barbarities" of pro-slavery persons. Dr. Cartwright, a layman from 
New Orleans, entered the fray. He wrote to Peter Cartwright of Illinois, 
insisting that, since the Bible did not classify slavery as a sin, they should 
not do so either. He also reported that his father (erroneously, the son 
believed) had emancipated his slaves. 57 

But not all the controversy was over slavery. There was also the con- 
tinuing difference of opinion between the Methodist Protestants and the 
M. E. Church, South in Louisiana over episcopal governance. Numerous 
Methodist Protestants, lay and clerical, had earlier been episcopal 
Methodists, but not many had bitter feelings toward their former church 
brethren over slavery. Evidently, Methodist Protestants in the South either 
accepted slavery or decided not to fight about it. 

Relations with other denominations were generally friendly, and there 
was cooperation on the part of Methodists with Baptists, Presbyterians, 
and others. Often when annual conference met, other churches would 
make their buildings available for the Methodist meeting -and Methodists 
reciprocated for their meetings. Presbyterians met in the Minden 
Methodist Church in 1854 to organize their Red River Presbytery. The 
Louisiana Baptist Convention met in Shreveport in the same year, and 
both Methodists and Presbyterians opened their doors for its use. 

There were fewer contacts— at least friendly contacts— with Roman 
Catholics. There was less open hostility than formerly, but not much occa- 
sion for fraternity. A humorous account in the Advocate for November 
20, 1852, portrayed two Roman Catholic women, Mrs. Allwise and her 
sister, Mrs. Wiseryet, who were talking about the Methodists and why 
they disliked them. From a series of questions addressed to them it became 
clear that they had neither read anything about Methodist doctrine nor 
heard a Methodist preacher. The writer (T.J.L., who could have been 
Thomas J. Lacy) summed up Mrs. Wiseryet's attitude by commenting, 
"She don't [sic] like the Methodists, but never heard them preach. She 
has closely investigated their doctrines but never heard that they had a 
creed. Don't [sic] understand the [Catholic] Priest, but believes all he 
says!" 58 

68 Becoming One People 

Slaves and Slavery 

Methodists in Louisiana took seriously their responsibility to take the 
gospel to the black people in their midst. That approach to the problem 
of slavery may be criticized as "half-way'' and grossly inadequate, but 
the collective wisdom of the whole nation was unable to find an adequate 
solution to the problem. What Methodists did may have been a "half- 
way" measure, but being half-way right was better than being totally 
wrong, they believed. 

The Louisiana Conference in its session of 1854 criticized actions or 
omissions which impeded their taking the gospel to plantation slaves. 
For example, make-shift and unappealing places were sometimes pro- 
vided for worship, and authority figures such as the plantation owner 
or the overseer or their families failed to attend services. They urged that 
preaching to slaves be in the same house used by the local white con- 
gregation and where the minister was not identified with the masters or 
the slaves but was minister to all persons. 59 In the larger towns and cities, 
whites and blacks usually attended the same services, although seating 
was separate. 

The recognition of this responsibility is carefully acknowledged in such 
statements as these appearing in the Advocate: 

It cannot be doubted that the division of the M. E. Church left us 
of the Church, South, responsible for the salvation of the negro to 
an extent difficult to realize and fearful to contemplate. By a zeal of 
their own, our brethren of the North virtually shut themselves out 
from preaching the Gospel to the slave.... We know of no Gospel 
for the plantation negro who may be miles from any village, excep- 
ting through the Missionaries of our own Churches. The slave looks 
to us, mainly, for the bread of life.... 60 

Colored Missions in Louisiana 

With this as their charter, the Methodists of Louisiana planned their 
"colored missions" carefully. In 1847 there were eight of these missions, 
and across the years some of the most highly experienced pastors served 
them, men such as John Pipes, N. A. Cravens, Joel Sanders, and Uriah 
Whatley. Mrs. Mary Winans Wall, daughter of William Winans, wrote: 
"At Clinton, La., where I moved after marriage, there was a large con- 
gregation and membership of colored people. They were regularly 
preached to on Sunday afternoon. . . . Sometimes a white minister preached 
to them, and again one of their own color. ... I have often sat and listened 
to their exercises, when my husband was away." 61 

Preston's plantation was one of the most noted of these "colored mis- 
sions," where E. Thompson was pastor in 1851. After his visit there in 
February, 1851, W. H. Crenshaw reported that the pastor had a good 

Organizing for Ministry 69 

house and servants to cook, wash, and make fires. He preached to almost 
200 blacks and administered the Lord's Supper to seventy blacks and two 
whites, including Colonel Preston. After extensive research, Kenneth K. 
Bailey reported that "in... Methodist churches it was not uncommon for 
blacks and whites to receive the Lord's Supper at the same altar at the 
same time. Handshakes between black and white believers were fairly 
common during Protestant ceremonials.... ,,62 "The slaves were 
happy... and never suffered from cold or hunger.... If all the planters 
would take the interest in attending their church that he [Preston] does, 
we might look for better results...." 63 Another such commendable situa- 
tion existed near Bastrop, where two plantation owners joined in pro- 
viding a chapel. They were E. K. W. Ross and William Faulk. 

Louisiana maintained these "colored missions" until the close of the 
Civil War, when most black Methodists of the M. E. Church, South went 
into the newly organized Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, although 
many went into the M. E. Church. During that time there were annually 
ten to fourteen such missions involving from 2,000 to 3,800 members. 
During the 1850s, Louisiana Methodists spent over $70,000 for these 

"In the South," wrote Joseph C. Hartzell, Methodist Episcopal pastor 
and editor in New Orleans, and later Missionary Bishop to Africa, "the 
chief event [of this era]... was the successful founding of plantation mis- 
sions.... The importance of these efforts [of William Capers, founder of 
this movement] are attested [by many]." 64 

Reference has already been made to those black citizens who were 
not slaves but free people. Presumably, they were ministered to along 
with the slaves, primarily in towns and cities, where most of them lived. 
The Advocate for May 13, 1853, carried an article, signed "A Louisianan," 
calling attention to the fact that these "Free Colored" persons were not 
slaves, yet they were not allowed to vote. The letter made a forthright 
plea that they should be allowed to exercise their rights as American 

Early Black Preachers 

There were a few black preachers in areas of the South, and they 
usually were quite effective. Editor Gillespie of the Advocate wrote in the 
February 15, 1860, issue that "they were capable of doing much good— a 
vast amount of evangelical labor which can never be done as well by white 
men.... Had there been no anti-slavery party, no free states, so-called, 
no fanaticism, no abolition excitement, this state of things... would have 
increased and improved. But now it is on the decline. But few colored 
men are now allowed to preach. It cannot be otherwise, under the cir- 

70 Becoming One People 

In 1861 the Conference Journal mentioned that "the colored member- 
ship of the Church has served a good purpose in forming a race of 
preachers— men of 'sound speech'— in Southern Methodism, for whom 
any people might be grateful." When the M. E. Church organized its own 
conference in New Orleans in 1866 (to bring together those Methodists 
sympathetic to the Union and against slavery) the twelve black preachers 
who joined must have come out of the M. E. Church, South. Among 
these, we know that Emperor Williams, Scott Chinn, Henry Green, and 
Anthony Ross were nurtured in Wesley Church, New Orleans. 

These black preachers "walked a tightrope/ 7 wrote Eugene D. 
Genovese. "They knew they had to rely on the protection of their masters 
[or other whites]. They genuinely considered themselves Men of God, 
and they did care about the spiritual lives of the slaves.... The black 
preachers... had to speak a language defiant enough to hold the high- 
spirited among their flock, but neither so inflammatory as to rouse them 
to battles they could not win...." 65 

Methodists Minister to Blacks 

Methodists proved flexible and able to adapt to the needs of this 
period. Kenneth M. Stampp wrote: 

Of the Protestant sects, the Baptist and Methodists proselytized 
among the slaves most vigorously and counted among their numbers 
the great majority of those who joined churches. The Presbyterians 
had greater success than the Episcopalians but far less than the Bap- 
tists and Methodists. Indeed, Presbyterian clergymen who preached 
to the slaves were advised to write out their sermons in advance and 
to discourage "exclamations," "out cries," and boisterous singing." 
As a result, explained a Methodist, while the Presbyterian parson was 
composing his sermon the Methodist itinerant traveled forty miles 
and gave "hell and damnation to his unrepentant hearers." Accord- 
ing to an ex-slave, the Methodists "preached in a manner so plain 
that the way-faring man, though a fool, could not err therein." 66 

Thus the Methodists in Louisiana "achieved a standing among the 
slaveholders— quite out of proportion to their numerical strength," accord- 
ing to Thomas Leonard Williams in his study of Methodist ministry to 
the slaves. "They were invited to preach to the slaves, and received a 
friendly welcome at most places. . . . The results achieved on their planta- 
tions inspired the neighbors to seek the same instruction for their 
Negroes." 67 

We must remember that not all black Methodists were on plantations; 
many were in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, and other towns 
in the state. Certainly New Orleans had the most active black churches 

Organizing for Ministry 71 

in this era. Seemingly Wesley Church became an all-black church about 
1844, with " white pastors assisted by able Negro lay preachers/' 68 

Methodist leaders did not leave their followers without guidance in 
this effort. McTyeire's book on Duties of Christian Masters was reprinted 
by the publishing house at Nashville in 1859 and presumably was widely 
read in Louisiana. Bishop William Capers prepared a catechism especially 
for blacks, but John Pipes considered it too advanced. He prepared a 
simpler one for use in Louisiana. 

The Intensifying Crisis 

Fourteen years after Methodism divided over slavery in 1844-45 (as 
the immediate cause), the Methodist Protestant churches in Louisiana 
found themselves in the same situation. In November, 1858, a conven- 
tion of nineteen northern and western conferences of the Methodist Prot- 
estant Church met in Ohio and dissolved their relations with their 
southern conferences, where slaveholding was practiced or tolerated. The 
northern group adopted as its name, "The Methodist Church/' The 
Advocate called this an action of "ultra abolitionism" in its issue of January 
4, 1859. 

Both the Methodist Episcopal division of 1844 and the Methodist Prot- 
estant division of 1858 were a foretaste of the breakup of the Union in 
1860-61. William Winans, who knew the southern mind and mores well, 
spoke as truly of Louisiana preachers as he did of those in Mississippi 
when he said that they had permitted their abolitionist brethren to brand 
slavery as the cardinal sin of that time and thus had created a situation 
that led to division in the church. As Ray Holder puts it, southern 
Methodists "were now unwilling participants in the pending crucifixion 
of the Union of the States." Winans insisted that the South should remain 
in the Union and gradually prepare the slaves for emancipation. 69 Perhaps 
it was a kindness that Winans did not live to see the bitter war; his death 
came in 1857. 

Some southern (as well as northern) Methodist leaders did not exhibit 
the judicious, diplomatic stance needed at that time. Winans thought 
Bishop Capers' episcopal address of 1850 to be antinorthern and pro- 
slavery, "hardly designed to encourage peace and understanding," and 
Bishop Henry B. Bascom was "pathologically antinorthern." 70 

Louisiana Methodist leaders were accused of being friendly toward 
the Know Nothing Party about 1854-55. Of course, some of them were 
not averse to being involved in politics. William Winans ran for Congress 
on the Whig ticket in 1849 against an opponent who was radically pro- 
slavery. When a former pastor in New Orleans ran for office a few years 
later, an acquaintance wrote that "he erred, lessened his influence as a 

72 Becoming One People 

preacher of the gospel and lost the affection and good-will of persons 
not a few." 71 Rather few ministers entered the political arena, however. 

The accusation of involvement with the Know Nothings came about 
in this manner. There had arisen a bitter anti-Catholic sentiment in the 
nation known as the nativist movement that evolved into the American 
Party or Know Nothings. It opposed giving voting rights to immigrants, 
especially Catholics. Many immigrants entered the United States through 
New Orleans, and some stayed in Louisiana. Incited by rumors and influ- 
enced by drink, the rougher elements in New Orleans rioted, and several 
persons were killed. Then "an Opelousas paper charged that the 
Methodist Church spent part of its annual conference in having its cir- 
cuit riders and Centenary College professors initiated into the Know 
Nothings to ally themselves with bigotry, intolerance, and proscription." 
So reported a Catholic source. 72 The Conference Journal does not substan- 
tiate this charge, but presumably Catholics believed it. 

National tension increased over political and other actions regarding 
slavery, such as the debate in Congress over the so-called Compromise 
of 1850, the Fugitive Slave Law, the opening of Kansas and its conse- 
quent turmoil over slavery, the Dred Scott decision, and the John Brown 
raid. The latter event was the occasion for another outcry in the Methodist 
press. The Advocate referred to the raid as the Harper's Ferry "insurrec- 
tion," in which "the devil is surely let loose for a season." 73 

On August 8, 1860, the Advocate carried an account of violence in Texas 
in which some homes were burned. The article warned Louisiana 
Methodists that the violence resulted from an abolitionist plot to incite 
blacks to terrorize whites. The Advocate also printed items that it con- 
sidered derogatory toward their critics in the North. A case in point was 
a note in the Advocate for February 15, 1860, citing examples of racial prej- 
udice against blacks in the North. A black man was fined $50 for 
preaching, and being unable to pay, he was imprisoned for ninety days. 
The Supreme Court of Ohio ruled that children of blacks could not attend 
public schools; in Illinois, black children were not allowed to attend school 
with white children. Southerners asked why northerners did not see the 
mote in their own eyes! 

On October 24, 1860, an editor of the Advocate was resigned to the 
likelihood that Abraham Lincoln would be elected president. He con- 
demned the election as "much to be deplored" and cautioned readers to 
be "mentally prepared for it." Two weeks later he headed his comments, 
"Save the Union," and charged that opponents of slavery were "enemies 
of the Constitution and the Union." Another editorial in the same issue 
admitted "there is nothing but cloud and gloom upon the horizon.... 
Military companies are being formed and people and States are openly 
arming.... Let us do nothing upon which we cannot ask [God's] bless- 
ing." The election of Lincoln as president on November 6, 1860, was the 
last straw in breaking the fragile bonds holding the nation together. 

Organizing for Ministry 73 

In one of the last issues of the Advocate that can now be found 
(November 28, 1860— although there was also an issue on January 9, 1861) 
until after the war closed, Editor Gillespie wrote, "We live in sorrowful 
times. Not a century has passed for the Grand Republic of the Western 
World, and yet it is apparently to be dissolved.... Let us pray that God 
may guide us and bless us in this most trying and troublous time. ..." On 
December 20, 1860, a special convention in South Carolina declared for 
secession. Six other states also seceded before Louisiana took that action 
on January 26, 1861. Thus the die was cast for war. The editors of The 
Methodist Protestant wrote on May 11, 1861: "It seems to be generally 
admitted that we are to have war.... We can only say we mourn for our 
whole country.... Merciful God, pity and forgive us...." 


Civil War, Recomstnictioii> and 

JVlethodists in Louisiana, along with other citizens, did not 
realize what agony and desolation would accompany secession. When 
the Louisiana Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, met on 
December 10, 1862, in Bastrop, the members acknowledged that "war is 
a great evil," yet declared they were "in favor of prosecuting the war with 
vigor" and pledged "to do all we can in our spheres as ministers to secure 
our independence and nationality... [and] that as loyal citizens, we sanc- 
tion the means being used by 'the powers that be' to expel our enemies." 1 
What were they fighting for? Scholars have debated that for over a 
century. Charles W. Ramsdell, longtime professor of history at the Univer- 
sity of Texas and onetime president of the Southern Historical Associa- 
tion, has pointed out that northerners believed secession resulted from 
treasonable conspiracy by southerners who wanted to extend slavery into 
the territories and even the free states. By and large, northerners seem 
to have felt the war's purpose was to preserve the Union and to destroy 
slavery, an unconstitutional institution. Southerners, on the other hand, 
argued that slavery was constitutional and that forced emancipation was 
tantamount to illegal confiscation of their property. Charles and Mary 
Beard in The Rise of American Civilization argue that slavery was not the 
chief cause of the war. They insist that it was a struggle between the 
southern planters and the emerging capitalists of the North who desired 
protective tariffs, a national bank to regulate currency, and federal sub- 
sidies for shipping, which the South opposed. 2 Historian Frank M. 
Owsley stresses the part played by "egocentric, destructive sectionalism." 
He claims sectionalism is a fact of life in the United States and can be 
constructive, but before 1860 it was destructive. "In time the average 
northerner accepted in whole or in part the abolitionist picture of southern 
people; they became monsters.... Such a state of mind is fertile soil for 
war." 3 Ramsdell poses a final question: "Can we say with conviction that 
this war accomplished anything of lasting good that could not and would 
not have been won by the peaceful process of social evolution?" 4 


Civil War, Reconstruction, and Methodists 75 

But these questions were raised long after the era in which decisions 
were made and battles fought. Though there were thoughtful southerners 
who questioned and opposed secession in I860, the whole South marched 
down that road. While Louisiana citizens may have had a variety of 
motives for supporting secession, the state as a whole accepted it and 
provided nearly 1,000 military companies and some 56,000 troops for the 
Confederate Army, and there were nearly 10,000 additional boys and 
overage men in home guard units. Between five and six hundred battles 
and raids took place in the state during the war. 5 Also, over 24,000 Loui- 
siana blacks joined the Union army as soldiers while a great many other 
blacks served in nonmilitary tasks. "Without their help, the North could 
not have won the war as soon as it did, and perhaps it could not have 
won at all." 6 So wrote historian James M. McPherson. 

Many Confederate soldiers were Methodist laymen and preachers. 
Some of the preachers were "fighting men," and others were chaplains. 
Among these were Frederick White, Joel Thomas Daves, William C. 
Young, Wade H. Frost, Clayton C. Gillespie, John W. Hearne, Richard 
M. Crowson, A. D. McVoy, James Anthony Parker, Charles W. Hodge, 
and William F. Wingfield. 7 

No Bishops at Conferences, 1861-1866 

Normal operations of the conferences were seriously curtailed dur- 
ing the war years. No bishops were able to attend conferences from 1861 
to 1866, though sessions were held. Due to the presence of fede^l troops 
in southern Louisiana, meetings were held in other parts of the state. 
Reports from the churches in New Orleans are unavailable for those years, 
chiefly since pastors — because of actions by federal officials — had to 
leave their churches. Many of the missions to blacks were discontinued 
because of unsettled conditions. Without bishops in attendance, ministers 
could not be ordained, leaving many younger ministers unordained and 
thus unable to perform marriages and administer communion. The Ad- 
vocate suspended publication about the end of 1861, when paper and funds 
were in short supply, and editor C. C. Gillespie joined the army. 

The war also affected the work of the American Bible Society. The 
1861 Louisiana Conference Minutes record approval of the Southwestern 
Bible Society's move to sever all connections with the American Bible 
Society in New York. A Confederate Bible Society was soon organized 
in the South. A year later the conference resolved to furnish soldiers with 
religious literature, and Robert J. Harp was appointed financial agent for 
the relief of Louisiana soldiers. It also set a day for fasting and prayer 
for peace. 

By December, 1863, there were no members of the conference serv- 
ing churches in New Orleans, since the city was in the hands of federal 

76 Becoming One People 

troops. Two local preachers in that city were especially helpful while 
regular pastors could not serve there. One was Jacob Ueber, who kept 
the Dryades Church from disintegrating. Another was James D. Parker, 
who helped start several Sunday schools, and later Parker Memorial was 
named for him. During the war he preached, baptized, buried the dead, 
and ministered to the distressed in the absence of regularly appointed 
pastors. Reports showed that many churches in the state fell into enemy 

Also serving as chaplains and missionaries to the Confederate soldiers 
were J. C. Keener, Benjamin F. Alexander, James L. Wright, Fred White, 
and Thomas B. Baldwin. Some conference members followed the army 
to other states. Joseph B. Walker, Charles J. Holberg, and Anderson B. 
Fly went to Mississippi; Henry B. Frazee, Joshua F. Scurlock, Arthur W. 
Smith, J. T. Fontaine, Daniel S. Watkins, and Fred White to Texas; and 
Holland N. McTyeire, and Matthew W. Thomason to Alabama. The 
chaplains held services, distributed tracts, Bibles, and hymnals, and the 
denomination's tract association issued two semimonthly papers for 
soldiers. This ministry was apparently quite successful; it is estimated 
that across the South, 150,000 soldiers were converted during the course 
of the war. 

One Methodist chaplain who became a familiar figure in Louisiana 
during the war was Enoch M. Marvin, from St. Louis. Fearing he would 
be asked to swear allegiance to the United States, he had left his pastorate 
in February, 1862, when Union soldiers had occupied the city. He slipped 
away and spent the remainder of the war in Louisiana, Arkansas, 
Mississippi, and Texas. He served as pastor in 1862 at Woodville, Missis- 
sippi, where he made his home at Judge Edward McGehee's mansion. 
He spent much of his time preaching to Confederate soldiers in various 
locations and was chairman of an interdenominational group of ministers 
who organized a "church of the army." He attended the Louisiana Con- 
ference in 1863 at Homer and wrote: "Sad evidences of the war were seen. 
Many of the preachers were absent. Most of their work is in the enemy's 
lines and has been abandoned. Many of the preachers are therefore 
without work." 8 From Homer he went to Minden and to Shreveport, 
preaching at each. He wrote: "Religion is at a low ebb in Shreveport.... 
Have had sad news from home. My wife has been arrested for holding 
secret correspondence with me. What was done with her I have not 
heard.... I see no prospect for an end of the war...." 9 He spent almost 
all of 1864 in Greenwood at the home of W. E. Doty, a retired pastor. 
The Doty home was open to refugees, and Marvin's family later spent 
several months there. Marvin also attended and preached at the Loui- 
siana Conference held in 1864 at Minden and in 1865 at Mansfield, where 
he preached the commencement sermon at Mansfield Female College in 
1866. Also, his loyal ministry to Confederate soldiers during the war was 

Civil War, Reconstruction, and Methodists 77 

a large factor in his being elected bishop at General Conference in New 
Orleans in 1866. 

Hardships of Churches and Their Members 

Records indicate that Methodist churches in the South willingly sup- 
ported the Confederacy. The church at Jackson, Louisiana -and possibly 
others -donated their steeple bell to be melted down and made into 
bullets. Wesley Chapel and several other churches were used as hospitals. 
The war was very destructive of church property. Invading troops took 
over some churches and destroyed others either deliberately or acciden- 
tally. Church buildings were sometimes used as storage buildings or bar- 
racks. In May, 1863, Bethel Church was burned by federal troops in what 
was called Grier son's raid. The church and parsonage at Alexandria were 
also among those burned. 

The members of these churches were likewise undergoing hardships. 
James E. Broadley, serving churches at Opelousas, joined his fellow 
Methodist preacher Benjamin F. White in running a statement in the 
Opelousas Courier on August 6, 1864, referring "to the fact that a great 
many of our brave and self-sacrificing soldiers have no clothing— are really 
in rags/' 10 He called on citizens to provide spinning wheels, looms, and 
cloth and to make socks, trousers, and shirts to send to those in need. 
Judge and Mrs. Edwin T. Merrick were forced to leave their home in New 
Orleans; Mrs. Merrick and the children went to Myrtle Grove Plantation, 
which was alternately within the Union and Confederate lines; their son, 
David, had gone from Centenary College to the army and was critically 
wounded, losing his hearing and one eye. S. A. Steel was twelve years 
old when the war began, and he wrote about having no shoes in winter 
and wrapping pieces of old blanket around his feet. 

Privation during the war affected different groups in different ways. 
One Catholic priest in Louisiana admitted, 'It angers me. . .that Mr. Lincoln 
with his murderous blockade forces us to drink only water. No wine, no 
kind of merchandise is able to come in from a foreign country. Soon we 
will have only sugar, corn, and cotton!" 11 

The tragic hardships brought by the war in Louisiana are revealed 
in a report by a Methodist chaplain from Texas, Andrew Jackson Potter, 
who was ministering to Louisiana soldiers along Red River. "The weary 
four months campaign... was one of unutterable hardships and suffer- 
ings to the army— hunger, sickness, and unbearable toils in the battle- 
strife, or standing guard, sorely tried the temper and constitution of hardy 
men. Many of them fell in battle, others were wounded.... The camps 
were like one great hospital." 12 

As one would expect, membership reports showed drastic reduction, 
partly because some churches were not reported. In 1860 the conference 


78 Becoming One People 

tabulated 7,761 white members; in 1864 the figure was 3,922. Black 
members were likewise reduced: from 5,834 in 1860 to 2,342 in 1864. 

Some Methodists in Louisiana went to Texas in an effort to escape 
the fierce fighting in Louisiana. One such person was George Madison 
Goldsmith, whose wife, Missouri Elizabeth Stevenson, was a grand- 
daughter of William Stevenson. The Goldsmiths lived in Claiborne Parish, 
and during the Red River Campaign -fairly near the battles of Pleasant 
Hill and Mansfield -they decided to leave precipitously. They gathered 
their family, along with 100 slaves (some theirs and some belonging to 
a neighbor) and walked to Texas. 13 

John Hope Franklin described the confusion and desolation in the 
South as a whole in these terms: 

The countryside had been devastated by the Union armies. Public 
buildings and private homes had been burned. The lands had 
deteriorated under poor cultivation or none at all, and titles to land 
and crops in many areas were in dispute. Everywhere there was suf- 
fering from starvation and disease. Many blacks homeless and without 
jobs, wandered from place to place, much to the disgust and fear of 
the whites. The mental aberrations of the whites were disturbing: they 
had difficulty in thinking of the black as a free man [after emancipa- 
tion] and this problem of reconciling themselves to his new status 
loomed larger and larger before their vision, blinding them to an objec- 
tive consideration of other pressing problems. 14 

Methodist Colleges Closed 

The war forced many Methodist colleges to close, and Centenary was 
one among them. David Merrick, whose father was the chief justice of 
the Louisiana Supreme Court and whose maternal grandfather, David 
Thomas, was a trustee of the college and helped finance the purchase 
of the college's property in 1844-1845, was a student at Centenary when 
war broke out. Young Merrick wrote his parents in 1861 that most of his 
fellow students were leaving to join the army and asked for consent to 
do likewise. Another student from Centenary who went into -the Con- 
federate army, Frank L. Richardson, also reported that many students 
were joining. 15 Centenary's buildings were used as a hospital for wounded 
Confederates and later were occupied by federal troops. Many valuable 
books disappeared, and buildings and furnishings were damaged. Tradi- 
tion has it that possibly the words "Union Literary Society" above the 
door of one building saved it from damage. A few months after the war 
ended, Centenary reopened with a new president, W. H. Watkins, with 
arrangements to liquidate the debt, and with plans to rejuvenate the 
endowment. 16 

Civil War, Reconstruction, and Methodists 


While Mansfield Female College did not send its students off to war, 
it closed because its financial condition would not allow it to remain open. 
The buildings were taken over by Confederate authorities and used as 
a military hospital. After the war, the college's property was sold for debt. 
But J. C. Keener of the conference led a successful movement to redeem 
the property, and the annual conference showed its support by meeting 
there in 1865. 

Most other schools and colleges with Methodist rootage were also 
closed during these years. None had been established very long before 
the war, and they had quite limited resources. Pierce and Paine College, 
for example, was founded only in 1860, chiefly by B. F. Alexander and 
John Pipes. Some of these schools were semiofficial conference projects, 
and others were organized by Methodist ministers or laity but without 
any official conference connection. One of the stronger of these was 
Homer College, which opened in 1855 and, except for the war years, con- 
tinued to about 1880. Other Methodist or Methodist related schools were 
Mahala Female Institute, Minden; Baton Rouge Female Academy; Baton 
Rouge Male Institute; Feliciana Female Institute, Jackson; Franklin Female 
College; New Iberia Female Institute; and Johnston Collegiate Institute, 
Greensburg. Some of these were in reality high schools rather than col- 
leges. All were presumably closed by the war, and some never reopened. 
Two Methodist schools— one at Houma and one at Franklin— after the 
war were bought by Catholics and changed into schools of their own 
denomination. 17 

Brother Against Brother in the Church 

Encyclopedia of World Methodism 

Bishop Edward Raymond Ames 

One of the most controversial and 
divisive acts in the history of American 
Methodism took place during the Civil 
War: the use of military force to 
remove duly appointed M. E., South 
ministers from M. E., South pulpits 
and replace them with M. E. 
preachers. M. E. Bishop Edward R. 
Ames initiated this action. He had per- 
suaded Secretary of War Stanton to 
order Union military officers to oust 
resident M. E., South preachers in 
Union occupied territory -unless 
those pastors took the oath of 
allegiance to the United States. If any 
pastor refused, he was to be removed, 
and the M. E. bishops would appoint 

80 Becoming One People 

a 'loyal" pastor to the church. The venerable Bishop Joshua Soule (83 
years old), on hearing about this, was quoted as saying, "It seems that 
the Secretary of War at Washington has become an archbishop and has 
been appointing preachers to churches in the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South." 18 Usually the members of a church so involved refused to attend 
the services of the M. E. preacher. 

Such displacement of pastors happened in several southern cities. 
The first example in Louisiana occurred at Baton Rouge, where Nehemiah 
A. Cravens was arrested on May 9, 1862, and taken as prisoner of war 
to Fort Jackson, New Orleans. His church was closed as a result. In 1864, 
however, a northern chaplain from the First Indiana Artillery was assigned 
to the church by M. E. officials, but members of the church refused to 
accept him as their pastor. 19 

When Union troops occupied New Orleans in 1862, the M. E., South 
pastors became nonjurors and consequently were not allowed to serve 
their congregations. Most reacted by leaving and seeking some place 
where they could serve. For example, Linus Parker left Felicity Church 
and became the pastor in the Shreveport Church, and J. B. Walker found 
a pulpit in the church at Port Gibson, Mississippi. 

On March 23, 1864, John P. Newman was sent from the North as 
pastor to Carondolet Street Church, M. E., South, in New Orleans under 
what was called the Stanton- Ames order. One account says that he had 
a large audience; if so, it was probably out of curiosity, for the congrega- 
tion "found shelter [for the rest of the war] in the Unitarian Church." 20 
Newman justified his "ecclesiastical invasion" by asserting that the M. 
E. Church was not a sectional church and had as much right to send 
ministers to the South as to Africa or India. Besides, the M. E., South 
ministers there had "either fled or been silenced, or imprisoned, or ban- 
ished." 21 He renamed the church "Ames" in honor of Bishop Ames, who 
had fashioned the policy under which the church was taken over by the 
M. E. Church and the Union army. 

Federal authorities seized the Laurel Street Church and converted it 
into a black school and chapel. They used Carrollton Church for a 
hospital. 22 

When the M. E., South pastors returned at the end of the war, they 
found the M. E. pastors still occupying their pulpits and refusing to relin- 
quish them. Then began a bitter struggle to restore churches to M. E., 
South congregations. M. E., South officials relentlessly criticized those 
whom they considered to be usurpers. Finally, they made an appeal to 
President Andrew Johnson, and in November, 1865, he ordered the 
churches restored to their congregations "without delay." White churches 
were reoccupied by M. E., South pastors and congregations on November 
19, 1865. Because the M. E. Church had favored emancipation, the black 
churches in New Orleans voted to join that body. 

Civil War, Reconstruction, and Methodists 81 

Some officials of the M. E. Church realized they had made a mistake 
in taking over churches. A contributor to the New York Christian Advocate 
on April 4, 1866, editorialized: "Whatever may have been thought of the 
policy of seizing the Southern churches under the force of military law, 
there is now no question that it was a great mistake. The M. E. Church 
appears degraded by the operation, while the ministers and members 
of those churches are exceedingly and quite naturally embittered against 

Methodist Episcopal Church Assists Blacks 

It was not a mistake for M. E. leaders to set about helping in the educa- 
tion and general improvement of conditions for blacks in Louisiana. In 
July, 1863, Union General Nathaniel Banks required the. government's 
Freedmen's Bureau in New Orleans to create a home for orphaned black 
children. At first, the orphanage was set up in the confiscated home of 
New Orleanian Pierre Soule. 23 Later the children were housed in the 
Marine Hospital. Eventually, John P. Newman raised $20,000 and moved 
the children to a home on a sugar plantation in St. Mary Parish. It served 
not simply as an orphan home but as an academy and a manual labor 
school, with support from the Methodist Episcopal Church's Freedmen's 
Aid Society. The society soon had founded fifty-nine schools in the South, 
nine of which were in Louisiana, in such locations as Baton Rouge, 
Thibodaux, Franklin, and Jefferson City. This educational task was not 
easy. Walter W. Benjamin summed up the difficulties: 

Measured against any standard, northern pedagogues faced almost 
insuperable odds during their southern sojourn. They crossed the 
Mason-Dixon line with no little naivete and great idealism, and it is 
amazing that many continued year after year at their posts. Fron- 
tierlike conditions faced the staff, two-thirds of whom were women, 
and many found themselves teaching in warehouses, barns, under 
trees, and in "old shanties." 24 

Yet they persevered and made remarkable progress. One black 
minister testified: "The Church... put clothes on our backs and shoes on 
our feet and hats on our heads, and. . .they's put brains in our hats, bless 
the Lord!" 25 

Fighting Ends, But Not the Travail 

The fighting ended, but the Union Army still occupied Louisiana— 
and much of the South. A great deal of residual bitterness resulted from 

82 Becoming One People 

wanton destruction of property and the theft of valuable belongings. In 
Baton Rouge and New Orleans— and elsewhere— this factor was 
undeniable. Union Brigadier General Thomas Williams reported during 
the occupation of Baton Rouge: 

I regret to say that I believe there is just ground against the Wiscon- 
sin and Michigan regiments for the charge of pillaging and marauding 
[brought] against them by the inhabitants of Kenner Station. . . . These 
regiments, officers and men, with rare exceptions, appear to be wholly 
destitute of the moral sense, and I believe that they believe... that 
pillaging is not only a right in itself but a soldierly accomplishment. . . . 

A federal colonel wrote from Baton Rouge to Major General Butler on 
August 13 [1862]: "This place has been nearly completely sacked by the 
soldiery. Scarcely a single house has escaped, all the citizens have fled. . . . 
Even officers' tents are filled with furniture from deserted houses/' 26 

All of this plundering of private property from private citizens natu- 
rally incensed the victims. Thus, a notice appeared in the New York Day 
Book early in 1866 entitled "A Card to the People of the United States" 
and signed "Many Southern Ladies," asking for the return of the stolen 
goods. The southern ladies listed over forty items in several categories: 
farm animals and conveyances, household goods, wearing apparel, 
jewelry, books, and cooking and eating utensils. "In the name of com- 
mon honesty and common decency, let us have back our stolen goods." 
This "card" was reprinted in the Advocate on February 17, 1866. 

Verification of such thievery is found in the following report in The 
Catholic Church in Louisiana: 

An article... appeared in The Boston Advertiser, which announced... the 
arrival of boats from New Orleans which contained "the immense 
wealth accumulated by General Butler and his staff while stationed 
in New Orleans which is estimated at six million dollars." Included 
in the list are two clothes baskets of church ornaments... two organs, 
a little out of tune... seventeen valises of silver and gold watches, 
twenty-one... boxes of gold rings.... That was how Butler proceeded 
in "protecting New Orleans." 27 

In 1864 the "pastoral address" from the Louisiana Conference to 
members of the M. E. Church, South contained these words: 

This unholy and unnatural war has driven many of you from your 
homes, from the comforts and pleasant associations of your youth 
and age into strange and distant places. Your sacrifice of property 
and ease evidence your high and just appreciation of the principles 
of civil and religious liberty; and the blood of your noble fathers, 
husbands, and sons has maintained and consecrated the possession 
of all that is dear to life. . . . We exhort all to attend upon the Ministry 

Civil War, Reconstruction, and Methodists 83 

of the Word and the ordinances of the Lord's house constantly and 

The land groans under the covetousness and extortion which 
abounds everywhere, and many good men have fallen into tempta- 
tion and snare, and thereby into many foolish and hurtful lusts which 
draws men in destruction and perdition. . . . The country is filled with 
widows and orphans whose cries and tears have come before the 
Lord. 28 

In the face of these circumstances, many citizens from Louisiana and 
other southern states as well considered migrating out of the United 
States, and some did. The Advocate reported on March 9, 1867, that a 
Methodist layman, W. D. Foster, and other men were on their way to 
Belize, British Honduras to investigate the prospect of relocation and 
possibly becoming citizens of that land. We do not know if Foster actu- 
ally moved, but he evidently seriously considered it. 

Blacks in Louisiana suffered unbelievable hardships and disasters— 
including death. After they were freed, many left their homes on the plan- 
tations and went to the towns and cities. Here jobs were scarce and food 
was limited and expensive. Some food was provided from federal sources. 
Recently freed people were often crowded into improvised camps, where 
exposure and disease were prevalent. Many black men were required to 
labor on public works. 

Thoroughgoing social-political changes occurred with amazing speed. 
To the Constitution, which had been unchanged since 1804, three major 
amendments were enacted in five years: the thirteenth, wiping out 
slavery; the fourteenth, outlining the rights of citizens; and the fifteenth, 
guaranteeing the vote to blacks as well as whites. Republican administra- 
tions governed Louisiana for nine years. The Ku Klux Klan emerged and 
was active in the presidential election of 1868. Clashes between whites 
and blacks were frequent and bloody in the South, especially in Loui- 
siana. 'More than a thousand persons, mostly blacks, were killed between 
April and November, 1868, in Louisiana. Two riots near Shreveport left 
more than one hundred dead, and a major outbreak at Opelousas... pro- 
duced an estimated death toll of two hundred." 29 

With support of the federal government black citizens became 
involved in the difficult process of devising new constitutions for southern 
states. In Louisiana half the delegates to the constitutional convention 
were blacks. Many of them had been free men before the war and land- 
owners, businessmen, or skilled workers. Among them were several 
outstanding Methodists, such as Caesar C. Antoine, his brother, Felix, 
and Pierre Landry. These men were active also in other political activities. 

Louisiana Methodists, along with other citizens, experienced the crea- 
tion of a single educational system for both races. Many of the freed peo- 
ple, of course, were eager for schooling. Some whites feared that educated 

84 Becoming One People 

blacks would be hard to control; others recognized that education was 
necessary for all in a true democracy. Louisiana's new constitution (1868) 
called for integrated schools, and in a few parishes black and white 
children evidently attended the same schools for a while. 

In the 1870s Louisiana was again shaken by violent reaction to elec- 
tions and reconstruction. In late August, 1874, six Republican office 
holders were murdered at Coushatta, near Shreveport. Two weeks later, 
in New Orleans, an encounter between police (aided by the militia) and 
members of a white league left thirty dead and one hundred wounded. 30 
Reconstruction, it seemed, was not working. 

Reconstruction... failed because realities had been ignored in a mad 
plunge for perfection for which poor, stumbling, bleeding mankind 
was as yet unprepared.... Reconstruction failed not because perfec- 
tion is not to be desired, but because it has a price. All would pay 
for that failure but the heaviest cost would fall on the Negro. He had, 
in fact, been abandoned -abandoned by the Republicans, as they 
themselves largely abandoned the crusading quality that from the 
beginning had gone along with their demands for a new economic 
freedom. Now the enthusiasm for more social justice gave way to 
an enthusiasm for big business. 31 

Louisiana Methodists Face A Changed Society 

The M. E. Church now had a foothold in Louisiana, especially among 
blacks and Germans; the latter had always questioned slavery. Blacks felt 
especially grateful to the M. E. Church. It had championed their right 
to freedom and had started schools for them after the war— notably, a 
few years later, New Orleans University (now renamed Dillard Univer- 
sity). Many M. E. members in the North came out of the war more afflu- 
ent than they were before the war (as did many northerners), and they 
gave generously to their branch of Methodism in the South, with its 
largely black membership. 

Methodist Protestants, as well as members of the M. E. Church, 
South, were "scattered and peeled, and the task of gathering up the shat- 
tered fragments was onerous indeed, if not hopeless/' 32 They and the 
M. E. Church, South considered merging but found they were too far 
apart in polity. They disagreed on the theological definition of holiness 
but agreed that holiness should be practiced. The Methodist Protestant, 
declared in the issue for September 28, 1861: "No wonder that holiness 
is counterfeited.... There is a false holiness — a counterfeit that looks so 
nearly like the genuine that there is danger of its getting into extensive 
circulation." This paper carried articles on subjects of pressing concern 
to Methodist Protestants of the time; some were: theatre-going, eternity, 

Civil War, Reconstruction, and Methodists 85 

slander, etiquette, and self-examination. Among their prominent members 
in Louisiana were J. C. Wallace, Dr. Herring, Elijah Hearne, J. W. Harper, 
J. M. P. Hickerson, and George Washington Johnson. Johnson helped 
organize the Louisiana Conference in 1846 and served as its president. 
He was delegate to the General Conference several times and to a 
nonepiscopal Methodist convention in 1866 in Cincinnati. 

Members of the M. E. Church, South had ample reason to be 
discouraged: their leaders were scattered, their publishing house at 
Nashville was almost ruined during the war by the Union soldiers who 
occupied it, many of their churches were destroyed, and a considerable 
number of their members were killed or wounded and pauperized. The 
M. E. Church, South was literally facing the possibility of disintegration. 
But in spite of these circumstances, the valiant efforts of members and 
pastors gradually brought renewed strength. White members numbered 
nearly 8,000 and black members almost 6,000 in 1860; by 1864 whites 
numbered less than 4,000 and blacks about 2,300. The trend in white 
membership turned upward after the war, with over 9,000 whites and 
still about 2,000 blacks in 1870. 33 Some of these figures are faulty due to 
lack of reporting, and black membership loss can be accounted for in part 
by their tendency to shift membership to the M. E. Church. 

In this hour of crisis, the southern bishops asked Holland N. McTyeire 
to prepare an address to members of the M. E. Church, South, encourag- 
ing them to move forward. Although McTyeire was serving as pastor in 
Montgomery, Alabama, Louisiana Methodists still claimed him as their 
own and were soon reading their copies of McTyeire's stirring statement. 
He proclaimed that their church was still alive and that neither disintegra- 
tion nor absorption was even to be considered. 34 

The Methodist Episcopal Church 

Just before the M. E. Church, South convened their General Con- 
ference in New Orleans in May, 1866, the M. E. Church pastors from 
the Gulf coast gathered in New Orleans to solidify their forces by organiz- 
ing an annual conference. Bishop Edward Thomson was present and 
guided the proceedings of the little band of twelve black and five white 
preachers who met on December 25-27. They were organized as the 
Mississippi Mission Conference of the M. E. Church. They recorded the 
names of five white ministers transferring into their new conference: H. 
G. Jackson, from the Northwest Indiana Conference, who in 1864 had 
been appointed as missionary to New Orleans; N. L. Brakeman, from 
the same conference, who had been appointed missionary to Baton Rouge; 
J. P. Newman, from the New York Conference, who had also been 
appointed missionary to New Orleans in 1864; W. M. Henry, from the 
East Genesee Conference, who had been appointed in 1865 to the Fourth 


Becoming One People 

Civil War, Reconstruction, and Methodists 87 

On previous page: Mississippi Mission Conference: top row, left to right: William 
Murrell, /. M Bryant, Emperor Williams, S. M. Small, Henry Green, J. Good- 
wyn, Hardy Ryan, Anthony Ross, Scott Chinn, David Ennis, Samuel Osborne, 
Thomas Kennedy; bottom row, left to right: H. G. Jackson, R. K. Diossy, J. P. 
Newman, Bishop E. Thomson, N. L. Brakeman, and W. M. Henry. 

District Church in New Orleans; and Richard K. Diossy, who transferred 
from the Methodist Protestant Church. Twelve black men were listed as 
admitted on trial: J. M. Bryant, Scott Chinn, David Ennis, Jack Good- 
wyn, Henry Green, Thomas Kennedy, William Murrell, Samuel Osborne, 
Anthony Ross, Hardy Ryan, S. M. Small, and Emperor Williams. In addi- 
tion to these, the 1871 Journal lists James Hayward and Isaac Hayward 
as joining the conference in 1865, but they are not listed in the record 
for 1865. 

Only one of the white ministers, W. M. Henry, was assigned exclu- 
sively to a pastorate. Three others served New Orleans University and 
also as presiding elders: Newman in New Orleans, Diossy in Opelousas, 
and Brakeman on the Mississippi District. Newman was also president 
of New Orleans University. Jackson served as professor at the school and 
as pastor of Ames Church, New Orleans. 

Most of the black preachers were nurtured by the M. E. Church, 
South. Newman served as secretary of the conference, for none of the 
blacks was able to write. Two churches in New Orleans were listed as 
white, and the other five were listed as "colored". The two white churches 
had fifty-five and thirty-three members, and the black churches had 2,128 
members, with Wesley Chapel accounting for 1,100 of these. 35 

Black Methodists were sought after by the various Wesleyan 
denominations. For example, the present St. James United Methodist 
Church in Shreveport was pulled in different directions in the mid-1860s. 
Before 1863 black Methodists in Shreveport belonged to the M. E. Church, 
South. In 1863 they organized a separate church, but the record does not 
indicate any denominational designation. In 1866 two M. E. ministers per- 
suaded the members to become Boyd's Chapel, M. E. Church. Later two 
groups left that church. One formed Lane's Chapel, Colored Methodist 
Episcopal Church (C. M. E.), and the other organized as St. Matthew 
African Methodist Episcopal Church (A. M. E.). In 1867 the remaining 
members chose the name, St. James Methodist Episcopal Church. 36 

Black M. E. Church members eagerly and quickly formed nearly 
ninety congregations in the state, though seventeen had forty members 
or less. White M. E. congregations in Louisiana were almost nonexistent, 
except for the few in New Orleans. Black leaders, both lay and ministerial, 
were numerous and efficient. Ministers who had earlier been trained in 
the M. E. Church, South gave outstanding leadership; among these were 
Scott Chinn, Anthony Ross, Samuel Davage, Pierre Landry, Emperor 
Williams, and others. Landry was a freeborn, self-educated native of 
Donaldsonville, where he served as assessor, police juror, justice of the 

88 Becoming One People 

peace, and mayor. He was a successful planter and was elected to both 
the Louisiana House and Senate. Later he joined the Louisiana M. E. Con- 
ference; at his death he was said to "have preached to more people than 
any man in the state/' 37 

Courtesy of Lillian Landry Dunn 
Amistad Research Center 

Pierre Landry 

Among the laity, Caesar and Felix Antoine are outstanding examples 
of loyal Methodist members. As freeborn, they had had an opportunity 
to develop some leadership ability, while emancipated slaves had had 
little chance to do so. Caesar had organized a company of black soldiers, 
and as their captain he had led them to assist Union troops. He was a 
delegate from Caddo Parish to the constitutional convention and was later 
a state senator. He promoted legislation to assist Straight University (later 
merged with New Orleans University, and named Dillard), to establish 

Civil War, Reconstruction, and Methodists 89 

Charity Hospital, and to compensate the A. M. E. Church in New Orleans 
for the 1858 confiscation of their church. In Shreveport he introduced a 
successful bill creating a city council government and was an active 
member of St. James Methodist Church. He was also elected to serve as 
lieutenant governor of the state. 38 

Felix C. Antoine was also a member at St. James Church and active 
in politics as a state representative. He chaired the Louisiana Committee 
on Elections and Qualifications. He too had served in the army, and both 
he and his brother had considerable wealth. The continuing careers of 
these two brothers are all the more remarkable in light of declining 
national support to southern blacks. "By 1877 the national Republican 
Party had abandoned southern blacks. It no longer needed their votes 
to sustain its power. Not only were the blacks left without national sup- 
port but many of their leaders had been driven from politics by intimida- 
tion or despair/' 39 

Little brotherhood was shown between the two episcopal 
Methodisms. In the 1867 M. E. Journal, it was charged that the M. E. 
Church, South had "lost the purity, spirituality, and moral power which 
should mark the Church of Christ, " and that the former slaves had "long 
been cut off from access to the Word of God." Thus there were relatively 
few lay or ministerial members of the M. E. Church, South who joined 
the M. E. Church, because they were repulsed by such charges and the 
attitude which spawned them. One of the few making the switch was 
James English, who in 1867 joined the Mississippi Mission Conference, 
M. E. Church. 

By 1869 the Mississippi Mission Conference had grown enough to 
prompt the organization of a separate Louisiana Conference of the M. 
E. Church. A number of preachers at the conference session reported 
hardships and mistreatment, partly because they were black and partly 
because southern people assumed their sympathies were with the north- 
ern cause. When J. P. Newman first preached in New Orleans, he was 
reported to have yielded to southern customs enough to have blacks sit 
in the balcony, apart from the whites. In 1867 the M. E. Conference 
affirmed "that we are unalterably opposed to all distinctions made in the 
house of God, on account of race or color." Black members of the M. E. 
Church in Louisiana soon proved their ability to furnish their own church 
leadership and to form with white members a solid foundation for the 
M. E. Church. The Louisiana Conference of the M. E. Church was organ- 
ized into four districts, New Orleans, Opelousas, Upper Coast, and 
Shreveport. Nineteen of the appointments were in New Orleans and three 
in Shreveport. 

The M. E. Conference in its first session in 1865-66 had voted to 
establish a seminary to train preachers, and by January 6, 1866, Newman 
announced in his paper, the New Orleans Advocate, that the Thomson 
Biblical Institute, located at First Street M. E. Church in New Orleans, 


Becoming One People 

would open on the third Tuesday in January, 1866. Another account 
reported that it had opened in Bayou Teche, St. Mary Parish. 40 Soon, 
Union Normal School was organized in New Orleans, which by 1874 had 
become New Orleans College (or University) and reported 300 students 
the first year. Related later to New Orleans College was Peck School of 
Domestic Science and Art, begun by Mrs. Joseph C. Hartzell, wife of a 
Methodist pastor in New Orleans. 

At the close of the Civil War there were many orphans of black Union 
soldiers in New Orleans, and the government established a home for 
them. After J. P. Newman of the M. E. Church arrived in New Orleans, 
he arranged for these orphans to be cared for at a home in St. Mary Parish 
called La Teche Orphans Home. Its name was eventually changed from 
La Teche Home to La Teche Seminary and then to Gilbert Academy and 
Agricultural College . 4 1 

At its 1876 session, the Louisiana M. E. Conference elected Graham 
Bell as its lay delegate and J. C. Hartzell as its ministerial delegate to the 
forthcoming General Conference. During that annual conference, Samuel 
Davage emerged as an important leader, and also some outstanding 
political figures visited the session, including former mayor Edward Heath 
of New Orleans, State Senator William Harper, the Honorable William 
Johnson of Shreveport, and Lieutenant Governor Caesar Antoine. This 
conference session recognized Mr. and Mrs. L. H. Seelye, who were in 
charge of the La Teche Orphans Home; Mrs. Seelye had been a nurse 
at the Union Hospital during the war and served as "a spy for the Union 
armies/' 42 

The 1876 conference railed against 
the Roman Catholic Church, which it 
perceived to be a threat to Methodists 
and a perverter of Christianity. "The 
great enemy of pure Christianity 
today... is Romanism, which is only 
another name for... tyranny, false- 
hood, fraud, simony, hypocrisy, and 
all the lying wonders that have as yet 
crept out of hell [In] Loui- 
siana... Protestants are scarcely 
safe.../' 43 

The importance of the M. E. 
Church in helping blacks make the 
adjustment from slave to freeman, 
from chatel to citizen, was profound. 
"No other church in America gave so 
unstintingly of her sons and her 
substance to free the Negro from igno- 
rance and poverty, and environmental 

Encyclopedia of World Methodism 

Bishop Joseph C. Hartzell 

Civil War, Reconstruction, and Methodists 91 

debasement as did the Methodist Episcopal Church/' concludes Walter 
W. Benjamin. The M. E. Church, South had its leading champion of the 
rights of blacks in Atticus G. Hay good, who wrote in Our Brothers in Black: 
"Suppose these Northern teachers had not come, and that nobody had 
taught the Negroes, set free, and citizens! The South would have been 
uninhabitable by this time [1881]. " Dr. Benjamin also raises a pertinent 
question regarding the relationship of the two episcopal Methodist 
churches and what might have been. "It might have been in the interest 
of the [M. E.] church to have channeled some funds for Negro education 
through the Southern Church [M. E., South].... A few voices in the 
wilderness prophesied that had such institutional selflessness been fol- 
lowed by the Northern Church, it would have won the Southern sister 
by an invincible love." 44 

The Methodist Episcopal Church, South Rallies 

In the meantime, members of the M. E. Church, South in Louisiana 
had not been idle. Their own General Conference— unable to meet in New 
Orleans in 1862 because of the war -met there on April 4, 1866. After 
the challenging message of Holland N. McTyeire in 1865 to fellow 
members of the M. E. Church, South, delegates came with hope in their 
hearts. They were encouraged also because Carondolet Church had been 
retrieved from J. P. Newman shortly before the delegates arrived. 

This conference proved to be one of the most significant ever for 
Methodists of the M. E. Church, South: (1) its members voted to establish 
lay representation in the conferences; (2) they voted to lengthen the time 
limit on pastorates; (3) they proposed a change in the name of the church 
(but annual conferences did not approve this); (4) they elected four new, 
younger bishops; (5) they planned the formulation of a constitution for 
the church; and (6) steps were taken to let black members organize their 
own denomination, if they so desired. 

Louisiana Conference delegates to this M. E., South General Con- 
ference were John C. Keener, Linus Parker (each elected bishop a few 
years later), Joseph B. Walker, Robert J. Harp, and William E. M. Lin- 
field. They all served on committees of the conference. Robert J. Harp 
and Holland N. McTyeire were on the "Committee on the Religious Inter- 
ests of the Colored People," which initiated the plan that led in a few 
years to the creation of a new Methodist denomination -the Colored 
Methodist Episcopal Church. 45 Among the four new bishops were 
McTyeire, and Enoch Marvin, who had spent much time in Louisiana 
Methodist churches before or during the war, as noted earlier. 

Following this 1866 General Conference, at which the leaders of the 
M. E. Church, South let all the world know they were alive and vigorous, 

92 Becoming One People 

great strides were made in Louisiana. The Advocate had resumed publica- 
tion shortly before the General Conference. District conferences were held 
in the fall of 1867, and Seashore Camp Ground, a new institution author- 
ized by the 1866 General Conference, was in operation by June, 1872, 
as a facility for camp meetings and other activities. Within a few years 
of the end of the war, the general recovery of the M. E. Church, South 
had progressed to the point that church buildings were improved or 

Resources for Resurgence 

Several factors accounted for the vitality of the M. E. Church, South 
in Louisiana in the post war period. First, this difficult period presented 
lay and ministerial members with a "do or die" situation. Also, the faith 
to which they were committed called them to great endeavor and under- 
girded them for the task. Without both the challenge and the faith to meet 
it, they might not have mustered the strength and courage to survive. 

Another factor in the success of the postwar M. E. Church, South 
was the emergence of capable lay men and women to carry forward the 
work of the church. Although records are scarce, John Matthews listed 
the following as outstanding persons in New Orleans churches: William 
Sherry, J. F. Harrison, Mrs. Fannie Lyons, Mrs. Vanbibber, and Mrs. 
Susan B. Thomas. Of Susan Thomas, Matthews wrote, "Perhaps few 
women ever exerted on the female mind of the South a greater moral 
influence." 46 

Laymen sent to the sessions of the annual conference of the M. E. 
Church, South were being trained in churchmanship, even though they 
could not officially participate in deliberations and vote. The laymen at 
the 1862 Conference were J. B. Ashley, Calcasieu; Dr. McGraw, Bastrop; 
J. A. Pugh, Ion; John F. Bellamy, Winnfield; J. M. Franklin, Sabine; and 
S. H. Dockery, Caddo. Conference members took the initiative in inviting 
them to attend. Thus, it is surprising that when the 1866 General Con- 
ference was considering a proposal to adopt a churchwide policy of offi- 
cial lay representation, the Louisiana Conference voted against it twenty- 
seven to eight. 

Among other outstanding laymen we have already mentioned was 
Edwin Thomas Merrick. After his marriage to Caroline Elizabeth Thomas, 
they lived in Clinton and later moved to New Orleans. His career as an 
attorney was outstanding, and in 1855 he was elected chief justice of the 
Louisiana Supreme Court. He opposed secession, but remained loyal to 
the South. He moved to northern Louisiana when New Orleans was taken 
over by Union forces and was removed from office in the Reconstruction 
era and debarred from legal practice. Later he was restored to the ranks 
of the legal profession. He encouraged his wife, Caroline, in various civic 
and church activities. 47 

Civil War, Reconstruction, and Methodists 93 

Judge Merrick and several other Methodists were involved in one of 
the most famous legal cases in the whole history of Louisiana, starting 
in 1835 and not concluding until the 1890s. The case was before the U. 
S. Supreme Court, off and on, over sixty years. It was a case in which 
Myra Clark Gaines sued to establish that she was the legal heir to the 
estate of her father, Daniel Clark. One account of this case was written 
in 1946 by Bishop Nolan B. Harmon, Jr., of Atlanta under the title The 
Famous Case of Myra Clark Gaines. In the 1870s, Myra Clark Gaines boarded 
in the New Orleans home of Bishop Harmon's grandfather, the Rev. John 
W. Harmon, who edited a temperance paper called the Southern Organ 
and attended Carondolet Street Church. Justice Merrick rendered a ver- 
dict that was in a sense the turning point of the whole litigation, and even- 
tually her suit prevailed. 48 

Other prominent figures in the public eye included Governor Henry 
Watkins Allen, who was a Methodist or a friend to the Methodists. In 
a time when paper was scarce, he provided paper to print the conference 
Journal for 1864. Joe Gray Taylor judged his term as governor during the 
Civil War as excellent in the face of untold difficulties. 49 In a gesture of 
official and genuine Methodist respect, Bishop Enoch M. Marvin preached 
his funeral sermon. 

A prominent Methodist woman in Louisiana in this period was Mary 
Elizabeth Bryan, who first reached the state in 1854. She and her hus- 
band, Irebell E. Bryan, lived on a Red River plantation. She was a pro- 
lific writer. She left Louisiana for a few years' stay in Georgia and then 
returned to Natchitoches. In 1861-62 she was coeditor of the Semi-Weekly 
Natchitoches Times. Later she returned to Georgia and produced several 
works of fiction. She was a versatile and facile writer. 50 

Perhaps the most prominent woman in Louisiana Methodism in this 
period was Mrs. Caroline Elizabeth Merrick, mentioned above. She grew 
up in a Methodist home; her father, David Thomas, was a trustee of 
Centenary College and often entertained members of the faculty in his 
home. Caroline married Edwin Thomas Merrick in 1840. After the war 
Mrs. Merrick became interested in suffrage and temperance causes. She 
was one of three women to speak out publicly, demanding suffrage rights 
for women. She helped make arrangements for Frances Willard to speak 
in New Orleans and entertained her in her home. She was elected presi- 
dent of the New Orleans Woman's Christian Temperance Union, helped 
organize a state W. C. T. U., and served as its president for ten years. 
She helped organize a Louisiana suffrage association and was its first 
president. 51 

Another outstanding layman was H. G. Hall of Shreveport. He 
became judge in Caddo Parish in 1873. He was described as "a man of 
superior order of intellect. . .learned in the Scripture and in theology." At 
the 1870 General Conference he was a delegate from Louisiana. He died 
of yellow fever in the Shreveport epidemic during the fall of 1873. 52 

94 Becoming One People 

Another Methodist woman became a public figure— on the stage, not 
always a profession that Methodists approved! She was Mary Ann Dyke 
Duff. She left New Orleans before the war, after being very active in a 
Methodist church which can no longer be specified. She was born in 
England, came to the United States, and became an actress. At one time, 
she was considered superior to any actress on the British stage and later 
the greatest actress in the world. After she moved to New Orleans, she 
gave up the stage and devoted her efforts to church work. 53 

A Corps of Capable Preachers 

Another factor in the vitality of the M. E. Church, South in Louisiana 
following the Civil War were the outstanding ministers who had trans- 
ferred into the conference. Louisiana had a fine corps of "native" 
preachers, but the Methodist system deployed its unique leaders wherever 
they were most needed. This was often at some of the city churches. In 
this era, New Orleans churches received several outstanding men from 
other conferences, for example, John Matthews, William E. Munsey, and 
Beverly Carradine. Matthews, "an able pastor-evangelist,... preached to 
great audiences wherever he served and won thousands of converts— a 
dedicated minister, a keen observer of life, and an interesting writer." 
His autobiography, Peeps Into Life, is a detailed and fascinating record of 
his pastoral and preaching career. Munsey "made a great name for himself 
[at what is now named Rayne Memorial Church]... by the forceful, 
unusual, and electrifying powers of his delivery. ... He. . .would dart into 
illimitable fields of beauty and grandeur." Carradine "was a flaming 
evangel for righteousness in New Orleans at a time when the Louisiana 
lottery was holding that state in its evil grip." He was in the midst of 
the great sanctification/holiness debate in the church, and his book Sanc- 
tification became a classic on that subject. 54 

This emphasis on transferred preachers is not meant to overlook the 
native Louisianians who rendered outstanding service. Among them were 
S. H. Werlein, J. C. Keener, R. J. Harp, Linus Parker, J. B. Walker, H. 
W. Knickerbocker, Fitzgerald S. Parker, Franklin N. Parker, Thomas 
Carter, and many more, As a matter of fact, two of the men mentioned 
above -Linus Parker and J. C. Keener -were elected bishop in the M. E. 
Church, South. Likewise, two of the men sent to New Orleans by the 
Methodist Episcopal Church in this era became bishops, namely, J. P. 
Newman and J. C. Hartzell. 

Louisiana Methodists were beginning to talk about the need for an 
educated ministry. A long article in the Advocate for April 4, 1872, urged 
the M. E. Church, South to found a theological seminary, consisting of 
a chair of theology and polemics, a chair of mental and moral science, 
and a chair of Hebrew and Greek. This was essentially what was estab- 
lished as the Biblical Department of Vanderbilt University a few years 

Civil War, Reconstruction, and Methodists 95 

later. Several Louisiana Methodist educators were members of the 
Southern Methodist Educational Institute, which was one of the forces 
that led in 1875 to the establishment of Vanderbilt University. Among 
the Louisiana Methodists connected with the Educational Institute were 
James B. Dodd from the first faculty of Centenary College, and from the 
1858 faculty were President John C. Miller and Professors Armistead, A. 
R. Holcombe, and William H. Scales. In addition, there were Professor 
J. C. Pitts of Mansfield Female College and D. B. Ross, from the public 
education field, and pastors B. M. Drake, J. C. Keener, and Jefferson 
Hamilton. Later additions to this educational institute from Louisiana were 
William V. Tudor, J. Lane Borden, Charles W. Carter, W. H. Foster, James 
W. Wilson, and W. H. Magruder. The basic purpose of the institute was 
to create a ministry that was trained and adequate for the work of 
Methodism in the South. 55 

Blacks in the M. E. Church, South 
Organize Their Own Church 

As leaders in the M. E. Church, South in Louisiana began preparing 
black Methodists to lead the new Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, 
they found that many of the more experienced black Methodist leaders 
had already been absorbed into the Methodist Episcopal Church. Conse- 
quently, much of the leadership needed for the new C. M. E. Church 
had to be developed from scratch. 

Some white southern leaders were reluctant to encourage blacks to 
become independent and make their own decisions. For example, the 
Ouachita district conference acknowledged in 1868 that black churches 
indeed wanted black preachers primarily, but went on to spell out the 
need for whites to control: "so long as the white man holds on to the 
Negro and guides the helm of State and church, he can elevate the 
Negro..." 56 In contrast to this attitude, the 1870 conference declared that 
the time had arrived "to move for the organization of the colored people 
into a church," and it ordained several blacks as local deacons. 57 But the 
M. E. Church, South by this time had already neglected the development 
of black Methodist leadership too long. Black leadership capable of 
organizing local churches, districts, and conferences was not readily 
available. Thus it was January, 1872, before a Louisiana Conference of 
black Methodists was formed. When the C. M. E. Church was created 
in Jackson, Tennessee in December, 1870, there were no representatives 
from Louisiana. 

The black members who went into the Colored Methodist Episcopal 
Church believed they were "set up" and not "set off" by their former 
associates in the M. E. Church, South. 58 Evidence of this was the close 

96 Becoming One People 

association of members and leaders of the two groups as they worked 
together on educational institutions for the C. M. E. membership. For 
example, in 1882 the M. E., South General Conference set up a plan for 
joint action in establishing schools and colleges. In 1878 the C. M. E. Loui- 
siana Conference voted to start a school in the state, and eventually Isaac 
Bullock, a conference member, began a private school for blacks in Homer, 
which later was taken as a conference project. 59 

The organization of the C. M. E. Church in 1870 was not looked upon 
with favor by some persons in the Methodist Episcopal Church. The editor 
of the New York Christian Advocate wrote: 'The Colored Methodist 
Episcopal Church... has the rickets, spinal complaint, and consumption. 
Instead of Gospel milk, and meat, it has been fed Confederate politics, 
hatred to the Yankees, and official vanity till poor thing is too dyspeptic 
to digest wholesome food and too blind to find it." 60 

In a few isolated cases, black Methodists continued to attend M. E., 
South churches. One such example was at the Floyd Church in West Car- 
roll Parish, organized in 1807. A few blacks continued to attend this church 
frequently until the early 1900s and were always welcome. One of them 
was a preacher called "Parson" Gulley. 61 

Ministering to the Germans 

War was unsettling in Louisiana for the Methodist ministry to Ger- 
mans, who lived chiefly in New Orleans. Many of the German pastors 
had come to New Orleans from the North, and some brought with them 
antislavery convictions. Some German Methodists in New Orleans were 
not happy in 1844-45 at becoming part of the M. E. Church, South. When 
M. E. ministers came to New Orleans in 1863, they cultivated the antisla- 
very Germans, some of whom changed to the M. E. Church. 

J. B. A. Ahrens came from Texas to Louisiana in 1866 and was placed 
in charge of the German work for the M. E. Church, South. He found 
a scarcity of preachers who were able to deal with controversial issues, 
such as slavery. He also found that preachers available for appointment 
were— though good, dependable men— unlettered, while German church 
members expected their preachers to be well educated and learned men. 62 
Ahrens himself was a good example. He was a graduate of the Univer- 
sity of Goettingen, had written a history of Mexico, and had taught in 
Soule University in Texas. 

Ahrens depended heavily on a faithful local preacher, Jacob Ueber, 
as a supply pastor for Dryades Church. Ueber was not able to see any 
validity in the M. E., South's position on slavery, possibly because of his 
own conviction on the subject. Thus, in the spring of 1868, William 
Felsing, a teacher, and twenty-four others withdrew from the Dryades 
Church and organized the Felicity Street Methodist Episcopal Church. 

Civil War, Reconstruction, and Methodists 97 

They rented a small hall nearby and invited Ueber to be their pastor. In 
a year, they had sixty-one members. 

Another German Methodist minister, Philip Barth, had come from 
the North and served the Soraparu Church. He resigned in December, 
1870, however, because of his northern sympathies and joined the M. 
E. Conference. He was accused in the Advocate (August 7, 1873) of attemp- 
ting to "steer... 'that congregation' into the haven of the Church North." 
Other German pastors during this era were Carl Biel, Carl Ska, and J. 
C. Speckmann. One of the most loyal preachers who served Dryades 
Church during the war was John A. Pauly, who with his wife, slept in 
the church steeple because of the troubled conditions in New Orleans. 63 

Ahrens reported in 1872 that there were four M. E., South German 
churches in New Orleans and one in Shreveport. By 1874 there was also 
one in Lake Charles. He was chosen to edit a German hymnal and a paper, 
The Evangelical Apologist, for the denomination. He also produced a Sun- 
day school periodical for children called Der Kinderfreund, which was made 
an official publication of the denomination in 1874. 

Also in 1874 the M. E., South organized the German Mission Con- 
ference, which included all the German work in both Louisiana and Texas. 
At that time, it had nineteen preachers and 110 lay members in local 
churches. The M. E. Church organized the Southern German Conference 
in the same year to serve its German members in Texas, and six years 
later, it was expanded to include German M. E. members in Louisiana 
also. With only Texas included, it had 438 lay members. The German 
Methodists in Texas originally belonged to the M. E. Church, South, but 
many of them changed to the M. E. Church after the Civil War, largely 
on the slavery issue. 

Ahrens moved his membership to the Louisiana Conference in 1895, 
and died in 1906. Fitzgerald S. Parker of Louisiana called Ahrens "a prod- 
igy of learning and energy for the important work of shepherding the 
[German Methodist] flock in New Orleans." John Matthews, then pastor 
in New Orleans, wrote: 

In our midst, lived Dr. Ahrens and his wife, both Germans and 
cultured.... [He was] a preacher of rare ability and deep piety.... It 
was a treat to hear him. His wife was particularly entertaining in our 
experience meetings. On one occasion at the sea-shore camp meeting her joy she turned to her native tongue and gave us German; 
then suddenly aware of the fact, exclaimed, "The Lord understands 
German as well as English!" 64 

Bishop H. M. DuBose praised Dr. Ahrens highly in these words: "He 
wrote, translated, preached, administered the affairs of the Church, and 
made full proof of a remarkable ministry for forty years in the city and 
Church of his adoption." 65 

98 Becoming One People 

One of the historic churches in Louisiana with a German background 
is Waldheim, near Covington. It was once called Boniface Church, in 
honor of Saint Boniface, the sixth century "Apostle of Germany." It was 
founded as early as 1860, and its large pulpit Bible is printed in German. 

The Laity and the Ministry of the Church 

While district, conference, and denomination-wide activities are 
important in the work of the church, it is what happens in the local church 
that really touches church members. In this period, responsibility for the 
planning and activities in the local church fell almost completely to the 
local pastor. Lay members were not as yet prominent in fashioning the 
local church program, except for the trustees of church property and those 
who taught the Sunday school classes. As they were admitted into full 
membership in the annual conference, pastors were charged as follows: 

1. Be diligent. Never be unemployed. Never be triflingly 
employed... neither spend any more time at any place than is 
strictly necessary. 

2. Be punctual. Do every thing exactly at the time. And do not mend 
our rules, but keep them.... 

3. Act in all things not according to your will, but as a son in the 
gospel. It is therefore your duty to employ your time 
in... preaching, meeting the classes, visiting from house to 
house. . .especially the sick, in reading, meditation, and prayer. . . , 66 

All of these functions are self-explanatory except possibly "meeting 
the classes/' Church members were assigned membership in smaller 
groups called classes, that met once a week (at least). The appointed class 
leader would "inquire how their souls prospered" and would advise, 
reprove, comfort, or exhort as occasion may require and "receive what 
they are willing to give toward the relief of the preachers, Church, and 
poor." 67 

Obviously, the class leader's role was very important, for he, though 
a layman, functioned somewhat as an assistant pastor. Women could not 
be chosen for this task; the Discipline stipulated that class leaders were 
to be "men of sound judgment." 

Class meetings were for many years the chief agency for Christian 
nurture. The Advocate on April 20, 1871, carried these suggestions of the 
way leaders should function: Engage in prayer before the meeting. Begin 
exactly at the time announced. Sing no more than two or three stanzas 
of a hymn. Make the opening prayer short. Ask direct questions rather 
than exhorting. Allow no one to speak long. Pray for the sick and absent 
members, and then visit them. Keep in touch with the pastor and other 

Civil War, Reconstruction, and Methodists 99 

Revival meetings were a main source of converts and new members. 
Such a meeting in New Iberia, reported in the Advocate for October 17, 
1868, was somewhat typical. A. E. Goodwyn was the pastor, and he 
secured a fellow pastor to do the preaching— John Wilkinson of 
Opelousas. Services were held morning and evening for eight days. Some 
of the "most substantial citizens of the community. . .consecrated their lives 
to the service of God and the church." Also, several children were among 
those converted. Altogether, twenty-two were converted and eighteen 
persons joined the church. The meeting closed with a special celebration 
called a love feast, which was open only to church members. They began 
with hymns and prayer and possibly a short talk by the pastor. Every 
one present partook of a little bread and water as a token of brotherly 
love and sharing, and this was followed by the "personal testimonies" 
of those who wished to share their religious experience. 

Camp meetings reached their peak sometime earlier and had declined 
by this period, but they were still an important part of Methodism. The 
marks of a successful camp meeting can be seen from the results of one 
held at Plaquemine Brulee in September, 1875. It was hailed a success 
because persons gathered there, and their faith was strengthened. 

Methodists and Catholics at the local level continued their opposi- 
tion to each other, but less bitterly than heretofore. Thomas B. White tells 
of visiting an ill Roman Catholic man whom he met during one of his 
trips into the swamp of Iberia Parish. He offered to pray for the Catholic 
who responded by asking if White was trying to convert him to 
Methodism. "By no means," answered White, "I would only strengthen 
your faith in Jesus, as you seem near eternity." With this assurance, the 
ailing Roman Catholic agreed; after the prayer they sang a few verses 
of a familiar hymn. 68 

There are few reported examples of Roman Catholic conversions to 
Methodism. J. A. Pauly told of developing a friendship with a Bavarian 
Roman Catholic bar-keeper in Gretna, whom he hoped to interest in a 
"deeper experience of religion." Pauly was successful but only after he 
was able to help the man clear up a mystery. He believed a ghost appeared 
at his Gretna home at night. Pauly showed him that it was only the white 
picket fence! The night he unmasked the "ghost," the neighbors had 
gathered to witness the exorcism, so Pauly used the occasion to preach 
them a sermon. The German and his wife joined the Methodist Church 
on the spot and became two of the most zealous members Pauly ever had. 

In 1870 the first lay delegates to be sent officially to a session of the 
Louisiana Conference of the M. E. Church, South, from the local churches 
and districts were listed as: H. Goodloe and James F. Ward, Opelousas 
District; Charles B. Stuart, James Ford, J. M. Ford, and Henry G. Hall, 
Shreveport District; B. L. Carr, Ouachita District; and Joseph H. Jordan 
and J. Harvey Brigham, Lake Providence District. 

100 Becoming One People 

Sunday schools were increasing in number and importance, but 
seemed during this period to be chiefly for children. In 1870 the Loui- 
siana Conference voted to ask for a change in the Discipline to give pastors 
the authority to nominate Sunday school superintendents. This action 
indicates the rising importance of Sunday schools in the minds of con- 
ference members. The person for this job was to be selected with care 
because of the importance of the program. 

In this era special activities were devised to help children find Sun- 
day school participation a pleasant and even exciting experience. For 
example, at Farmerville there was a strong "public" Sunday school— which 
may have been a union school; a report on it in the Advocate for May 30, 
1868, does not make this clear, but at least we may assume that Methodists 
were involved. On May 1 that year the school virtually took over the town. 
There were orations by adults, "many little speeches from the pupils/' 
singing, a procession with banners on which were the names of various 
classes— names such as Little Pilgrims, Buds of Promise, Cross Bearers, 
Band of Hope, and Pearl Seekers. In 1868 the Felicity Street Sunday school 
children were given a ride on the steamboat Fannie Gilbert from New 
Orleans to the Sauve Plantation, eighteen miles above the city. Outdoor 
games and singing provided entertainment, but according to the report 
in the Advocate on May 10, there were no games of chance and no dancing. 

Sunday schools did more than have picnics. In addition to teaching 
the Bible, they strongly supported missions. Bishop Enoch M. Marvin 
wrote in the Advocate (February 4, 1871) that the Louisiana M. E., South 
Sunday schools were not mission schools but missionary schools. He 
reported that the Felicity Street Sunday school had raised $300 for mis- 
sionaries in China the previous year. They also wrote to and received 
letters from those missionaries. The church at Trenton raised $200 for a 
similar missionary cause. The Advocate from time to time carried letters 
from China missionary James W. Lambuth, a native of Louisiana. 

The concept of union or interdenominational Sunday school raised 
questions in the minds of Methodists in Louisiana and elsewhere. Richard 
Abbey, prominent Mississippi Methodist, wrote a long letter on the sub- 
ject for the Advocate (July 20, 1871). He reported that pros and cons of 
union Sunday schools had been discussed by Methodist leaders. He 
believed that "no preacher, receiving a Conference appointment, has a 
right to put his [congregation's] children... into a Baptist, or Presbyterian, 
or Campbellite school/' 

Local church members also helped to establish agencies through 
which their churches could minister. For example, in 1867 "Mother" Eliza 
Gant of Wesley M. E. Church and Mrs. Sarah Robinson of First Street 
M. E. Church in New Orleans established a place known as The Methodist 
Asylum to care for needy elderly persons. They rented a house on Ram- 
part Street and later moved it to South Liberty Street. In 1872 the name 
was changed to the Lafon Old Folks Home, in honor of Thorny Lafon, 

Civil War, Reconstruction, and Methodists 101 

who had contributed $10,000 to it. Lafon was a wealthy black Roman 
Catholic and philanthropist. Later the home was moved to South Robert- 
son Street, where it remained until 1949, when it was relocated at 4038 
Buchanan Street. It later was renamed Lafon Protestant Home. 69 

Sorely neglected in local church life was the preservation of historical 
records. Sometimes the secretaries of church meetings or agencies 
believed that records belonged to those who took the minutes or made 
the records. In early days church buildings rarely had safe places to keep 
records, so they were kept in homes. Too often they remained in those 
homes as personal possessions and were discarded by those who did not 
realize their importance. 

Church buildings themselves were plain in these times and usually 
not equipped with offices or storage facilities. They were made of the 
readily available logs or planks of the areas. A new church in Pineville, 
for example, had pulpit and seats made in 1873 from cedar retrieved from 
the Red River's Great Raft— a famous logjam, which was really a series 
of logjams extending from above Shreveport to about Coushatta. The 
church was used for the first time in September, 1873, for a meeting of 
the Alexandria District conference. 

Following the war, there was a somewhat acute shortage of pastors 
for M. E., South churches. Bishop Enoch M. Marvin wrote in the Advocate 
for February 4, 1871, that it was distressing how many appointments 
(especially circuits) were left to be supplied by local preachers or devoted 
laymen. A long article in the Advocate on March 30, 1871, followed up 
this discussion by stressing the threat to the church's vitality posed by 
its shortage of ministers and urging the recruitment of more young men 
to enter the ministry. Earlier in the same publication another contributor 
charged that too many ministers were becoming teachers and professors, 
"for the paltry consideration of the honors and titles which some seem 
to covet" (July 26, 1851). In reality, however, only a small percentage of 
ministers filled positions other than pastorates. 

Pastors of local churches may not have been Greek and Hebrew 
scholars or seminary graduates, but they were faithful shepherds of their 
flocks. This was evident in such calamities as the yellow fever epidemic 
in 1873-76. In 1873 a terrible epidemic broke out in Shreveport. Thousands 
of citizens fled the city. Very few of those who became sick survived. 
Soon the number of dead had reached two hundred and was still climb- 
ing, with the death rate at thirty-five a day. Business was suspended, 
and streets were deserted. The pastor there, John Wilkinson, reported 
that he had been called upon to hold the funerals of five members of a 
family of six. He spent all his waking hours tending the sick, holding 
funerals, calling for doctors, and securing nurses. "Every night I feel pros- 
trated from bodily exertion... but every morning I read the Ninety-first 
Psalm and go forth renewed in strength and courage, trusting in the 
Lord." 70 

102 Becoming One People 

In 1876 a similar epidemic broke out in Delhi. The pastor there, P. 
H. Moss, was urged to leave but stayed to serve his people by comfort- 
ing the dying, consoling the bereaved, and burying the dead, including 
his own child. Later he himself contracted yellow fever and died; he was 
buried alongside his child in Delhi. 71 

In 1875 the question of women's equality in the church was discussed 
in the Advocate. In the issue for October 14, 1875, Angus Dowling declared 
dogmatically that "the question of women preachers is forever fixed and 
settled/' He then concluded: 'The Bible nowhere permits or authorizes 
women preachers, but... permits and authorizes women to pray in the 
public congregations, and to glorify God in their spirits and bodies, and 
then to go shouting home to heaven." Although it was only a few years 
before the women of the church organized their own local and conference 
missionary groups, this article did not set off much controversy. It was 
1913 when the Louisiana Conference adopted a report acknowledging 
both the timeliness and the seriousness of the question about women's 
place in the church; "the proposal to extend to women the rights of the 
laity is one of grave importance to the Kingdom of God and to his 

The era produced some cases of severe controversy between pastors 
and leading laymen in their churches. John Matthews reported that two 
lay officials in Poydras Street Methodist Church, a Mr. Curtis and a Mr. 
Ross ran the church high handedly, making it so unpleasant for two 
pastors that they had to leave. The pastors were Jefferson Hamilton and 
William R. Nicholson, both of whom were outstanding ministers. Only 
when McTyeire and Keener came to New Orleans was this situation 
straightened out. At that time Mr. Ross left the Methodist Church. 72 

Methodists in the third quarter of the nineteenth century had a clear 
understanding of what recreational activities were proper for members 
of the church. Lotteries were on the banned list. Places to avoid, accord- 
ing to the Advocate (February 1, 1868) were "the brothel... the gambling 
saloon... the cock-pit... the masque ball... the gin palace, and... the theater." 
The editorial concluded: "The only sufficient warning against going to 
the theater that a pastor can give is to turn out of the church its theater- 
going members." Presumably, the article expressed the opinion of the 
editor, John Christian Keener, elected bishop in 1870. 

The next editor, Linus Parker, added to the list of forbidden activities 
the "voluptuous revelry of Mardi Gras." "This rage of frivolity and excess 
of riot are thus authorized and countenanced to the undoing of souls and 
to the scandal of religion," he wrote in the Advocate for February 27, 1873. 

According to Harold Sinclair, "New Orleans loved to gamble," and 
"it was hard to reform a people who would rather gamble than do 
anything else on earth." 73 But Methodists -and people of other 
churches — sought to do the impossible and drive out the lottery, which 
had begun in 1867. Many ministers and laymen worked long years against 

Civil War, Reconstruction, and Methodists 103 

it. Included among these was evangelist Sam Jones from Georgia, who, 
during a visit to New Orleans, preached against it. Defenders of the lot- 
tery pointed out that Charity Hospital, administered by the Roman 
Catholic order of Ursulines, was receiving forty thousand dollars annually 
from lottery profits. Few Methodists were swayed by such arguments. 

The New Orleans Christian Advocate 

When the New Orleans Christian Advocate was forced to stop publica- 
tion and close its doors because of hostilities during the Civil War, those 
in charge did not know what the paper's ultimate fate would be. For- 
tunately, part of the space in the building continued to be used by another 
concern, and the facilities for the Advocate had come through the war 
intact. The depository building was at 112 Camp Street in New Orleans, 
and after publishing was resumed, nearly the whole building was used 
to house Methodist offices and agencies. 

The ground floor was a Methodist bookstore and claimed the most 
valuable assortment of standard books, literary and religious, to be found 
in the Southwest. In the rear of the bookstore was the press room, where 
the Advocate was printed. Various conference officials had their offices 
on other floors. The top floor was used chiefly by Dr. Ahrens and his 
assistants in administering and editing the German papers, Family Friend 
and The Evangelical Apologist. These papers were used widely across the 
South. R. J. Harp was the appointed agent of the publishing house and 
was the publisher of the Advocate, which served the Mobile, Montgomery, 
Mississippi, and Louisiana Conferences. At that time, the building car- 
ried a debt of $6,000. 

When the Advocate resumed publication in 1866, it was greeted warmly 
by its readers in Louisiana. John C. Keener was the editor; he had been 
a pastor earlier in New Orleans and during the war was superintendent 
of the Confederate States Army Chaplains west of the Mississippi River. 
He was editor until elected bishop in 1870. Keener was followed by Linus 
Parker, who served until 1882, when he too was elected bishop. He had 
been a pastor in New Orleans and directed the Advocate to minister to 
the families in whose homes it appeared. He sought to help his readers 
achieve a higher spiritual life. A contributor from Jackson, Louisiana 
declared in one of the early issues after the paper was resumed that its 
revival would do more to restore the loyalty and effectiveness of Loui- 
siana Methodists than any other single agency of the church. 

104 Becoming One People 

The End of an Era 

During the course of the Civil War and Reconstruction era, Methodism 
in Louisiana changed considerably. The M. E. Church, South, the largest 
group of Wesleyans in the state, had been battered and bruised but began 
to regain its strength. Its members had suffered tremendous financial 
losses, personally and as congregations, and virtually all their black 
members had gone to other denominations. They had highly skilled and 
well financed competition from their Wesley an cousins in the M. E. 
Church, who poured money into churches and schools to give much- 
needed aid to blacks. Methodist Protestants struggled along with relatively 
few members but made an important witness to a great truth, namely, 
the importance of lay participation in directing the church. Although their 
memberships were small, the Evangelical and the United Brethren 
churches were making their valuable witness. 

One of the most distressing situations was the strife between north- 
ern and southern Methodists. M. E. Church, South members looked upon 
M. E. leaders as intruders who had proselytized some of their members. 
M. E. leaders believed they were bringing into the South the true gospel 
of Christ. They were in fact giving blacks what they desperately needed - 
fellowship, education, and self-esteem. The M. E. Church, South could 
take comfort in the warm, friendly relations they had with black members 
as they cooperated with them in establishing the Colored Methodist 
Episcopal Church. 

By 1876 the M. E. Church gave up on its effort to create an interracial 
conference in Louisiana, in which blacks and whites would meet, plan, 
act, and worship together. This was the dream of Bishop Gilbert Haven 
of New England, who courageously promoted Christian brotherhood, 
especially in the church. But, with permission from the General Con- 
ference, M. E. annual conferences across the South, voted to create all- 
black and all-white conferences. Louisiana M. E. members held out until 
1893, but then they voted to divide the conference into a black Louisiana 
Conference and a white Gulf Mission Conference. 

As the era closed the M. E. Church, South in Louisiana had almost 
14,000 white members, compared to 8,528 white members and over 6,000 
black members in 1861. The M. E. Church in 1866 had 7,879 members, 
jumped to 16,164 in 1867, dropped to 10,281 in 1870, and ended up with 
9,528 in 1876. On October 22, 1874, the Advocate reported the belief that 
Ames Church in New Orleans was the only white M. E. Church in 

One hopeful sign regarding the relationship of the two episcopal 
Methodist churches came in 1869, when the bishops of the M. E. Church 
sent two of their number to a meeting of the M. E., South bishops in 
St. Louis. The purpose of their visit was to consider possibilities for peace 
and eventual reunion. Among the southern bishops were two who had 

Civil War, Reconstruction, and Methodists 105 

deep Louisiana connections: Holland N. McTyeire and Enoch M. Marvin. 
They probably had a hand in the response to their northern counterparts 
as they sent back a message in which they deplored "the unfortunate con- 
troversies and tempers that have prevailed, and still prevail, and our 
earnest desire and prayer to God is, that they may give place, and that 
speedily, to peace/' 74 

In 1876 commissioners from each church met at Cape May, New 
Jersey, and broke the long-standing stalemate by agreeing that "each of 
the said churches is a legitimate branch of Episcopal Methodism." This 
statement opened the door to meaningful dialogue because earlier the 
M. E. Church, South was accused of illegally "seceding" from the original 
organization. Bishop John M. Moore called the new statement "the most 
epoch-making utterance and action in Methodist history since 1844, and 
even for the succeeding half century or more. ... It is the golden milestone 
at the head of the highway that leads to unity and union in American 
Methodism." 75 That "golden milestone" held promise that the various 
Methodists in Louisiana would some day work and worship together. 


Renewed Efforts Following the War 

With the passing of time, the bitterness of the Civil War and 
Reconstruction lessened between northern and southern Methodists, 
though slowly. The first sign of progress was the rising feeling among 
Methodist Episcopal bishops in April, 1869, that reunion of the two 
churches would be desirable. Bishop McTyeire, still influential in Loui- 
siana, was secretary of the College of Bishops for the M. E. Church, South. 
He and his episcopal colleagues responded to their counterparts in the 
M. E. Church by showing a willingness to help in "the establishment of 
fraternal feelings and relations between the two churches." 1 

The Turning Point at Cape May 

By 1872 there were exchanges of fraternal messages in which Linus 
Parker of the M. E. Church, South and John P. Newman of the M. E. 
Church were involved. Newman was one of the first M. E. preachers in 
New Orleans after the Civil War and was also a member of the signifi- 
cant 1876 meeting in Cape May, New Jersey. At that meeting it was agreed 
that the 1844 General Conference had been competent to divide the 
Methodist Episcopal Church; therefore, the M. E. Church, South was not 
a "secession" church, as some northerners had alleged. Bishop John M. 
Moore wrote that the Cape May agreement "put the two bodies upon 
a plane of equality, fraternity, and liberty that made possible a new com- 
mon life." 2 

When the Louisiana Conference of the M. E. Church met in January, 
1877, John Matthews, M. E., South pastor in New Orleans, was a visitor 
and was officially recognized by the conference. He also visited the ses- 
sion in 1880 and made a stirring fraternal address to the members. This 
conference of 1877 applauded the recent meeting at Cape May. 

Many indications of genuine fraternal feelings between the two 
Methodist churches were in evidence during the next years. Both M. E. 
and M. E., South preachers, for example, participated in the funeral ser- 
vice of Mrs. Katie Kienle, wife of Jack Kienle, pastor of the Second Ger- 
man M. E. Church in New Orleans. In 1881 M. E. conference officials 


Renewed Efforts Following the War 107 

noted the improved relations between the two Methodist churches. The 
next year the M. E. conference met in Franklin, and in thanking the 
citizens for their hospitality, M. E. spokesmen specifically mentioned 
members of the M. E. Church, South. In 1895 the M. E. conference met 
in the M. E., South building at Monroe. In 1896 the M. E. conference 
praised Bishop Atticus G. Hay good of the M. E., South, who urged his 
branch of Methodism to form and maintain brotherly relations with black 
Methodists. All of these signs indicating a thawing of relations between 
the two branches of episcopal Methodism continued to multiply. The 
Advocate in 1882 (February 2) declared, "It is essential. . .that all the branches 
of the one great family [of Methodists] should be mutually cooperative. . . . 
[God's] cause must not be hindered by our divisions/ 7 

There were occasional exceptions to this growing friendliness. For 
example, in the M. E. paper, renamed the Southwestern Christian Advocate 
(February 12, 1880), there appeared this parody, aimed at southern 

A charge to keep I have, 
The Negroes to restrain, 
A never dying thirst for power 
To bind them with a chain. 

Arm me with jealous care 
To make them know their place, 
And oh! thy servants, Lord, prepare 
To rule the Negro race. 

The same paper, however, quoted the M. E., South's Southern Chris- 
tian Advocate (Charleston, April 15, 1880) as stating: "We would not be 
just to Northern Methodist brethren if we did not acknowledge, with 
gratitude to God, the good work they have done among our colored peo- 
ple/' Charles B. Galloway, editor of the Advocate four years later, praised 
M. E. Bishop Isaac W. Wiley for his positive estimation of the character 
of blacks and a sympathetic estimation of their needs. The Southwestern 
Christian Advocate (May 29, 1890) praised the election of Atticus G. 
Hay good and O. P. Fitzgerald as bishops of the M. E., South and com- 
mented, "They represent the most progressive thought in Southern 
Methodism touching the race problem. We rejoice in their election ." 

Louisiana Methodists got to know Atticus G. Hay good in this era. 
Haygood was a Georgia Methodist preacher and educator, who was agent 
for the Slater Fund before he became bishop. The Slater Fund had been 
established in 1882 by John F. Slater of Connecticut to aid in the Chris- 
tian education of the recently emancipated blacks of the South. One of 
the trustees of the fund was former president Rutherford B. Hayes. 
Haygood's task was to locate existing schools for blacks that needed finan- 
cial help. He traveled some 20,000 miles a year to carry out this task. In 

108 Becoming One People 

1881 he published a book called Our Brother in Black which sought to spur 
the South to the task of establishing schools for blacks. He met the trustees 
of Louisiana State College in 1884, and recommended placing some Slater 
funds there. He called attention to the influence of the Advocate and 
reported many signs of changing attitudes: "the Southern churches are 
beginning to move/' 3 He also recommended that funds go to a school 
at Baldwin. 

Not all Methodist leaders were ready— or thought the churches were 
ready— to merge. Bishop Joseph C. Hartzell, who was in the vanguard 
of M. E. leaders, whom members of the M. E., South considered "inva- 
ders" of New Orleans, was never convinced that merger or union was 
a good idea. He thought neither the M. E. Church nor the M. E. Church, 
South was ready. He thought the M. E., South was too race conscious 
and had "kicked the Negro out" of its fellowship when it agreed to sup- 
port the organization of the C. M. E. Church. 4 

Thus the era was characterized by a growing friendliness in general, 
but with significant opposition from those who had been involved in some 
of the most strenuous early engagements between the two episcopal 
Methodist churches. 

In the Methodist system, annual conferences are an indispensable 
agency for carrying on the work of the ministry. That is where local church 
leadership in the person of pastors and laypeople and general church 
leadership in the person of the bishop meet, face issues, and make plans 
for dealing with those issues. Local leadership provides "grass roots" 
knowledge of conditions and what the laity can or will do about them. 
The bishop holds up the goals of the denomination, provides knowledge 
of how other churches and conferences have faced similar issues, and 
helps members of the conference agree on a plan of action that gives prom- 
ise of successful ministry. 

Louisiana Conference, M. E. Church, South 

Obviously, one of the most important tasks for the annual conference 
was the appointment of pastors to churches. The bishop announced 
assignments, but he depended heavily on the counsel of presiding elders 
(now called district superintendents). Pastors and local church officials 
can express a preference, but the choice is finally in the hands of presiding 
elders and the bishop. 

Bishops tried to encourage the development of effective pastors. In 
this spirit, Bishop W. W. Duncan, who was not connected with the Loui- 
siana Conference, in 1893 wrote to one of the presiding elders about a 
pastor in their conference: "Deal tenderly and kindly with Brother 
He is a good man, but does not know how to suc- 
ceed. Inspire and encourage him all you can. He has a good wife. God 

Renewed Efforts Following the War 109 

bless the hard-working, faithful women. We will never be able to cancel 
our indebtedness to them." 5 

Bishop Joseph S. Key, however, was in charge of the Louisiana Con- 
ference, M. E. Church, South in 1888 when he wrote the following to 
a confidant: 

Brother is not the man I want for any place 

in Louisiana Conference. It is not necessary to give reasons.... I had 

a letter yesterday from , asking to return to 

Louisiana Conference. I do not like such fickleness and wrote him 
at once that I could not ask him to return.... Dr. B., our pastor here 
in Sherman, is a superior preacher and pastor, and if I need him will 
consent to be used at Shreveport. But he is doing good work here 
and is pleased, as are his people.... Already I am besieged with let- 
ters, offering to go to N. O. or Shreveport, but in this case the place 
must seek the man, and not the man the place. Meanwhile, keep me 
advised. 6 

Although Bishop Key was not keen on transferring back into the Loui- 
siana Conference the applicant mentioned above, who had transferred 
elsewhere, this was one way a conference secured ministers, and it always 
required careful search and good judgment by the bishop and others. 
From 1847 to 1884 the Louisiana Conference received on trial 146 
preachers, and in the same period 120 were received by transfer. Thirty- 
nine preachers had dropped out at various times but had come back later 
and were readmitted. 7 

Another way the Louisiana Conference, M. E., South secured new 
ministers was to seek out young men who showed promise, to guide them 
in their preparation, and to supervise them in their early years as pastors. 
The conference established a system for supervising their courses of study 
and their development as pastors. There were about a half dozen new 
applicants every year. Bishop Nolan B. Harmon (whose father was reared 
in New Orleans and was a Methodist preacher, and whose grandfather 
was a preacher in New Orleans and editor of a temperance paper) com- 
mented on New Orleans as a seedbed for preachers: 

I heard Bishop [Warren] Candler say that most preachers came from 
the country and little towns, but there were two cities, New Orleans 
and Baltimore, that furnished an unusual number. "And they had 
to be good," said the bishop, "when they came from those surround- 
ings." They had seen the world, the flesh and the devil at first hand 
and knew all the answers. The Parkers, Frank and Fitzgerald, and 
their father [Linus] who was a bishop; my Harmon kin, grandfather, 
father, and uncle; the Knickerbockers, and others [are examples].... 8 

To this list of Louisiana preachers he could also have added Bishop 
Keener and his sons, Christian and Samuel S., Emperor Williams, John 

110 Becoming One People 

Pipes, B. F. Alexander, Pierre Landry, Samuel Davage, J. W. E. Bo wen, 
Jr., R. H. Harper and, W. T. Handy, Sr. 

The character of every ministerial member was evaluated each year 
at the annual session. Sometimes there were questions about or charges 
against the behavior of one or more of the ministers. Charges were care- 
fully examined by a committee of peers. If necessary, a trial was held, 
according to definite regulations. If guilty of improper behavior, the defen- 
dant might receive reprimand, suspension, or expulsion. In one case in 
this era, a member of the conference was charged with misappropriation 
of funds and of adultery. He was found guilty of the first charge but not 
of the second. A family member long afterward evaluated him in these 
terms: He was "a blend of considerable ability, moral weakness, genuine 
religious fervor, laziness, and complete insensitivity to the needs of those 
nearest to him/ 79 Such incidents took time from the main task of the 
church and did not improve its image. 

The conference organized a Ministerial Educational Association in 
1880 to assist in the education of young men who were called to the 
ministry. The church had no theological seminaries, except the newly- 
established one at Vanderbilt University; thus young preachers had to 
depend on reading courses and counseling from older pastors for their 
development. In the latter capacity, the conference looked to such men 
as John Pipes, B. F. Alexander, Charles B. Galloway, Beverly Carradine, 
Christian Keener, S. Halsey Werlein, William E. Doty, and James E. Cobb. 

The Louisiana Conference of the M. E. Church, South also dealt with 
social conditions and institutions that were harmful to the people for 
whom the conference was responsible. In 1879 a resolution was adopted 
that stated: 'The advocates of the drink system proclaim what a revenue 
it yields! But what does revenue avail when the souls and bodies of our 
fellow-men must be sacrificed to gain it?" 10 In January, 1882, the con- 
ference called on the Louisiana Legislature to submit for referendum an 
amendment to the state constitution which would prohibit the manufac- 
ture and traffic of intoxicating liquors. The next year the conference reaf- 
firmed this demand, and in 1885 it noted that eight parishes had barred 
the sale of liquor— possibly partly due to Methodist influence. The con- 
ference also opposed the Louisiana lottery. 

In December, 1892, the Louisiana Conference, in its report from the 
Board of Temperance, quoted in their Journal with ill-concealed disgust 
these lines from the Cincinnati South: "Preachers at their... con- 
ferences... pass Prohibition resolutions and all that sort of slushy bun- 
combe, the same as the politicians promulgate flowery froth in their plat- 
forms and for the same purpose -to catch suckers...." Needless to say, 
the conference passed its own resolutions in straightforward fashion, no 
punches pulled. In January, 1898, the conference petitioned the state 
legislature to ban the sale of intoxicating liquors within eight miles of 

Renewed Efforts Following the War 111 

Mansfield Female College. Both the C. M. E. and the M. E. churches 
joined the M. E. Church, South in the fight for prohibition. 

The Louisiana Conference of the M. E., South in 1879 still had a few 
black members in its local churches. In that year a total of seventy-seven 
was reported in ten charges, with thirty in Centerville, fifteen in Har- 
risonburg and Sicily Island, ten each in Evergreen and Grand Cheniere, 
five in Carondolet Church, and smaller numbers in five other churches. 
The conference maintained a genuine concern for their former members 
who had gone into the C. M. E. Church. In 1886 the conference took an 
offering of $190 for the C. M. E. Church's Paine College and agreed to 
provide $300 more. Two years later, regarding the C. M. E. Church, they 
made the following statement, which was intended as a very positive com- 
ment but in reality reflects an element of late nineteenth century 
eugenicism and perhaps a tinge of social Darwinism: 

They have maintained their church in harmony with us in keeping 
the two races apart socially and in the marital relation. They stand 
for the purity of the African as we do for our Anglo-Saxon blood. 
Again, we can rely upon their preaching everywhere against the 
whiskey power. They teach their people to be quiet and law-abiding 
citizens.... Their progress... is amazing. 11 

The conference continued to commend the C. M. E. Church for their 
progress and to contribute funds to their colleges, Lane and Paine. Bishop 
L. H. Holsey of the C. M. E. Church attended the Louisiana M. E., South 
Conference in January, 1898, in Crowley, Louisiana and spoke on the 
educational needs of his church. The conference took an offering and 
presented it to him. 

While only ministers were life members of the conference, laymen 
had to be selected as delegates to a given conference. The conference was 
quick, however, to show appreciation for service rendered by laymen. 
Two laymen were memorialized at the conference session in December, 
1898. One was Samuel Whited, who had been Sunday school superinten- 
dent at Bowman Chapel for seventeen years and a frequent delegate to 
annual conference. The other was A. S. Helmick, a medical doctor, who 
had been a delegate to annual conference almost every year since 1870 
and a delegate to two General Conferences. 

One minister who died as a member of the Louisiana conference, 
though he had also served in other conferences, was James E. Cobb. He 
was typical of the many preachers in Louisiana— and elsewhere— who 
exhibited versatility as well as loyalty in his career of thirty years. He 
edited the Memphis Christian Advocate for four years; was president of 
Arkadelphia Female College in Arkansas; president of Homer College at 
Homer, Louisiana for four years; editor of the Arkansas Christian Advocate; 
presiding elder in Louisiana; agent for the American Bible Society; served 

112 Becoming One People 

an African Mission in Arkansas; and was agent for the trans-Mississippi 
Army Tract Society. 

As the century drew to a close, the M. E. Church, South was begin- 
ning to realize that the times required a better educated ministry. It was 
reported: 'The people are being enlightened. The ministers, if they are 
to lead and mould the thought of the community, if they are to instruct 
their congregations, must keep pace with the advancement of education/' 
In the spirit of this view, the Louisiana Conference Minutes for 1885 
recorded that it formed a Ministers' Education Aid Association. And in 
December, 1889, it appointed John C. Sligh and A. S. Lutz to be theology 
students in Vanderbilt University. 

Louisiana Conference, M. E. Church 

The Methodist Episcopal leaders believed they had almost an easy 
task in establishing their churches in Louisiana. A writer in the M. E. 
Church's Southwestern Christian Advocate (January 31, 1884) wrote, "Before 
many more years we shall fully possess this Southwestern country." The 
conference depended largely, though by no means altogether, on transfer- 
ring preachers from the North and East to serve in Louisiana in this era. 
Preachers came from Vermont, Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, New York, 
and other northern states, and also from other denominations, such as 
Baptist, Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist 
Episcopal, Zion, and Colored Methodist Episcopal— and a few from the 
Methodist Episcopal, South. 

The M. E. Conference had a varied constituency, chiefly blacks but 
also a smattering of whites of Swedish, German, French, and Italian 
extraction. Many black leaders in the M. E. Church, especially at first, 
can be identified as former members of the M. E. Church, South. Some 
of the churches had small memberships of two, four, five, and seven per- 
sons. Out of seventy-five churches, thirty-eight had fewer than thirty 
members in 1875. The larger churches were in New Orleans and originally 
had been developed by the M. E., South. 12 

Part of the appeal that the M. E. Church had in Louisiana was that 
"Methodist Episcopal" was the name of the original Methodist church 
in America, and they assumed their branch was more genuinely Methodist 
than the M. E., South or the M. P. branches. They referred to it as the 
"Mother" or "Old" church, or "The Great Methodist Church," or "The 
Grand Old Methodist Episcopal Church." 

The M. E. Conference staunchly supported the civil rights of black 
people. Several times in this era the conference heard reports of black 
preachers or members being mistreated for no other reason than race. 
In 1889 reports of attacks on blacks were received at conference, and "all 
good citizens" were called on to promote peace and harmony between 
the races. In 1891 pastors Stephen Green and Ephraim Harrison reported 

Renewed Efforts Following the War 113 

they had been whipped and driven from their work by "regulators" 13 of 
East Baton Rouge. Fortunately, they were also able to report their attackers 
had been apprehended, tried, and sentenced to twenty years in prison. 
The conference commended state officials for their part in the prosecu- 
tion and voted to send a letter to the president of the nation about the 
outrages against blacks in the state. Furthermore, the conference 
denounced the law that required separate railroad cars for whites and 
blacks. A year later they agreed to test the law, which was popularly— or 
unpopularly-called "The Jim Crow Law" and referred to by the conference 
as "un-American, ungodly, and inhuman." 

The M. E. conference session of 1890 condemned strongly the Loui- 
siana lottery, and their New Orleans Advocate had a long editorial against 
it on May 1, 1890. When the lottery was finally banished, the Southwestern 
Christian Advocate (same sponsorship but different name) had an editorial 
entitled, "Exit Louisiana Lottery" on January 4, 1894: "After a long reign, 
this great octopus— that has wrung the hard earnings of the poor, that 
has brought poverty and woe and crime to the doors of multitudes. . .goes 
out of existence.... An insulted people rose en masse and demanded 
revocation of the charter of the Louisiana Lottery." 

In 1894 the M. E. Conference exemplified both the glory and weakness 
typical of humans and their institutions. One member was expelled from 
the conference and from church membership for not living up to his vows. 
Another was found guilty of imprudent conduct, but he promised to 
amend his life and was let off with a reprimand from the bishop. On the 
other hand, there were examples of generosity and support. Thorny 
Lafon, New Orleans philanthropist, though not a Methodist, was a 
benefactor of Methodist causes. When he died in 1894, the Southwestern 
Christian Advocate (January 4) reported that this "remarkable man" had 
left $3,000 to New Orleans University, and $5,000 for the Lafon Old Folks 
Home (which he had already contributed to), plus a lot worth $5,000. 

This era saw the death of several leading black Louisiana preachers, 
two of whom were originally in the M. E., South. The first was William 
Murrell, an outstanding preacher, praised at the time of his death (1893) 
at the conference memorial service. Born a slave, he began preaching early 
in New Orleans, first in the M. E., South and later in the A. M. E. Church. 
He joined the Methodist Episcopal Conference in 1866, served in the Loui- 
siana Constitutional Convention of 1868, and later sat for several terms 
as a member of the state legislature. His bold and determined style gave 
him the title, "The Wild Man From La Fourche." Another black preacher 
memorialized that year was Anthony Ross. He had become a Methodist 
in 1831 and was later pastor of Wesley Church; it was estimated that as 
many as 10,000 persons were converted under his ministry. 

By 1897 another veteran black preacher had died— Emperor Williams. 
He too had left the M. E., Church, South in 1866 to join the Methodist 
Episcopal Conference. Born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1823, he was the 


Becoming One People 


son of Seth Green, one of the 
five men who met their death 
on the scaffold at Harper's 
Ferry, Virginia, with John 
Brown. He began his ministry 
in the M. E. Church as a 
member of the Mississippi 
Mission Conference. In all, he 
served as a pastor ten years 
and as a presiding elder for 
eighteen. He was the first 
black to serve as presiding 
elder in his conference and in 
1880 the first to be sent as 
delegate to General Con- 
ference. Colleagues consid- 
ered him one of the choicest 
men in Methodism and one of 
the most remarkable of his 

To offset these losses, the 
M. E. Church was gaining 
new members through its 
pastoral oversight and 
Christian nurture. Robert H. Moerner is a good example. He was a native 
of Germany and reached New Orleans in 1885. When he arrived, he had 
no savings, no job, no income, and could neither speak nor understand 
the English language. He went to the German Franklin Street M. E. 
Church, heard Jacob J. Kienle preach on the prodigal son, and was 
welcomed by the pastor and congregation. One of the members of the 
church gave him a job. Later he got a job teaching German children in 
Texas. He decided to enter the ministry, joined the German Conference, 
and served it faithfully. His son, Otto W. Moerner, was later well known 
across The Methodist Church for his work with the General Board of 
Christian Education. 14 

Near the end of the century, the M. E. Louisiana Conference lost 
membership by the division and reorganization of the conference. In 1893 
three German churches were transferred to the Southern German Con- 
ference. About the same time the Central New Orleans District was shifted 
to a new unit, the Gulf Mission Conference. 

The College of Life 

Emperor Williams 

Renewed Efforts Following the War 115 

Gulf Mission Conference 

The area in southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas "was noted at 
that time for its lawlessness, and the area between the Calcasieu and 
Sabine Rivers was a kind of 'no-man's-land' where escapees and others 
fleeing the law found the heavy forest and underbrush provided cover 
for their flight to another state." 15 The area obviously needed the influence 
of religion. By 1892 the M. E. Church had decided to bring this area under 
its wing, and consequently it organized its efforts in that region into the 
Gulf Mission in 1893 and sent preachers there. In Louisiana the new mis- 
sion included such towns as Crowley, Evangeline, Jennings, and Lake 
Charles; and in Texas soon there were M. E. congregations at La Porte, 
Texas City, Woodville, Marshall, and Beaumont. Virtually all members 
were white. 

The mission began with 354 lay members. By 1897 it had become Gulf 
Mission Conference and had increased to 1,456 members. Baldwin 
Academy came within its jurisdiction as did some of the French people 
in the area. Also in 1897, the conference reported plans to establish a 
higher school in Jennings in collaboration with the Austin Conference. 
They planned to call it Southern University. By 1898 a Marshall (Texas) 
District was created with seven appointments, and in the same year the 
conference asked that all post offices be closed on Sundays and that the 
trains stop carrying mail on Sundays. 

The university never materialized, evidently due to financial dif- 
ficulties. But almost immediately plans were formulated for another 
school, called Alvin College, to be located in the town of Alvin, between 
Houston and Galveston. There is no later mention of this project. The 
plans, nevertheless, indicate the importance placed on education. 

In 1901 the New Orleans Central District was transferred from the 
Louisiana Conference to the Gulf Mission Conference. This added other 
appointments, such as, Ames Chapel (later to become St. Charles 
Church), Lutcher Circuit, First Italian Church, Plaquemine Bayou, and 
Levonice, to the new conference. This New Orleans Central District 
included the M. E. ministry among the French, Italian, and English speak- 
ing people of the city and vicinity. 16 

Methodist Protestant and United Brethren 

Records of Methodist Protestant and United Brethren church activ- 
ity in Louisiana are meager, but there is evidence that their preachers 
and members in Louisiana were loyal and sacrificial across the years. The 
M. P. in the North and West who opposed slavery and who had organized 
themselves as The Methodist Church in 1858, reunited with their southern 
brethren in 1877. Almost all the M. P. members in the South had adhered 

116 Becoming One People 

to the original group. At this uniting convention, J. M. P. Hickerson of 
Louisiana was present. 

About 1880, J. W. Harper of the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of 
the M. P. Church edited The Protestant Recorder for the two states. Unfor- 
tunately, the paper was short-lived. Harper was their delegate to the 1880 
General Conference. In January 1881, O. R. Hearn was president of the 
Louisiana Conference, which met at Hood's Mill in Jackson Parish. 

The Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Protestants met 
in October 1882 at Clear Creek Church in Grant Parish; Hearn was still 
president. Ministers listed were Hearn, J. M. P. Hickerson, Isaac R. 
Strickland, James P. Patton, D. A. Boddie, Robert Montgomery Steven- 
son, J. T. Humphreys, and A. G. Austin. Delegates present were A. M. 
Shields, J. D. Stewart, W. H. Head, J. M. Greer, William Wasson, G. 
W. Warner, B.J. Price, David Houston, J. H. Crawford, W. V. McCain, 
and M. T. Bryant. 17 The conference report showed a net increase of 117 
members in the year. The list of appointments contained these places: 
Summerfield, Farmerville, Rice, Antioch, Catahoula, Boeuf River, 
Ouachita, Bastrop, Dugdemona, Hicks, and Strickland. 

By the 1901 meeting of their conference, Methodist Protestants 
reported substantial gains. They had a net increase of 349 members over 
the past year, making a total of 2,115 in their twenty-eight churches. They 
had fourteen Sabbath schools and two parsonages. Church property was 
valued at $10, 193. 18 There were sixteen appointments, including one each 
in Ruston, New Orleans, and Monroe. 

An important item of business at the 1901 conference was the appoint- 
ment of a committee to arrange for establishing "a high grade and clean 
school" in Louisiana. Occasion for this proposal was dissatisfaction with 
the Methodist Protestant school in Westminster, Texas to which they had 
previously been loyal. That school, they felt, was not strict enough against 
the use of tobacco. Louisiana M. P. members selected W. W. Lantrip as 
president of the proposed school. He was grandfather of James Lantrip, 
who was later a leading Methodist minister in Kentucky and Tennessee. 

The United Brethren Church was never very large in Louisiana. 
Members of the U. B. Church came to Louisiana in the 1880s and soon 
had sixteen churches. Eventually most of these either disbanded or united 
with other congregations, reducing the number to only two, one in Jen- 
nings and one in Roanoke. The latter was organized in 1895 and met for 
a time in a hay barn. The one in Jennings, now named Trinity, was 
organized in 1897. Both churches were organized by E. J. Church from 
the state of Iowa. 

Renewed Efforts Following the War 117 

Local Church Activities Increase 

Local churches increased decidedly in number and activity for both 
episcopal Methodist churches during this period, but not so much for 
Methodist Protestants and United Brethren. As memberships grew, more 
churches were organized and more houses of worship built. As people 
became more settled and more educated, it was necessary to provide them 
challenging and satisfying activities in the church. 

The Sunday School 

One of the first organizations to meet the challenge was the Sunday 
school— no longer called the Sabbath school. Several churches in Loui- 
siana started from Sunday schools. Two examples are Parker Chapel and 
Carrollton in New Orleans, and there are some others. Prominent laymen 
served long terms as Sunday school superintendents; William H. Foster, 
a good example, was for thirty-six years superintendent of the Sunday 
school at Felicity Church in New Orleans. 

There was a growing conviction in these years that Sunday school 
was not simply for children, and many large adult classes developed. This 
was certainly a step beyond the earlier attitude that Sunday school was 
mainly a recruitment device to bring children into the church. When the 
Sunday school was recognized as an agency for developing Christian 
knowledge and understandings and promoting Christian education and 
life, adults were attracted to classes. 

In this era a question was raised by the conference about the advisa- 
bility of participating in union Sunday schools. The conference affirmed 
the "broad catholicity" of Methodism in relation to other denominations, 
but questioned whether Methodists could participate in union Sunday 
schools when other groups taught conflicting doctrines. Illustrative of the 
problem was the experience in 1890 of Westlake Methodist Church, which 
was allowed to use at agreed-upon times a building belonging to a Bap- 
tist church. While there were no joint sessions, there was tension over 
the Methodist practice of baptizing young children, which the Baptists 
thought was contrary to biblical teaching. Eventually the Methodist con- 
gregation had to find a new meeting place. 19 

Union United Methodist Church in the Monroe District has a unique 
type of record in its Sunday school. For many years (and we do not know 
if it goes back to this era) those attending Sunday school there have 
entered remarks in the Sunday school record books. Every person was 
encouraged to write whatever was important to him or her. Samples are 
these: "My last Sunday. Leaving 13th for Shreveport, Centenary Col- 
lege.... God bring them [travelers] safely home.... May this child [a new 
baby] be a blessing to them. * . . Bro. Dan C. Barr was buried at Oak Ridge 

118 Becoming One People 

Young mothers at Union Church brought their children to meetings 
of the missionary society, and some gave them life memberships. Years 
later one mother was heard to comment about her son who was serving 
his country in Vietnam, "I'll bet he is the only man in the army who is 
a member of the Woman's Missionary Society/' 20 

The Epzvorth Leagues 

During this period, young people, as well as women, achieved a new 
"place in the sun." In different parts of the nation, Methodist youth began 
to organize. They used various names for their groups— including the 
Oxford League. Finally Epworth League emerged as the official name, 
and it was approved by the General Conferences of the two episcopal 
Methodisms in the 1890s. It was designed to give young people a chan- 
nel to full development as Christians -including knowledge of the biblical 
faith, participation in social service activities, personal religion, and the 
larger enterprises of the church. 

In 1893 Franklin N. Parker and Fitzgerald S. Parker (both sons of 
Bishop Linus Parker), and C. W. Carter presented resolutions approving 
the Epworth League for the Louisiana Conference of the M. E. Church, 
South. The next year eighteen chapters were formed, the first one at Felic- 
ity Church, New Orleans. In a few years a state league conference was 
held, and it continued for many years as an annual event. In 1899 the 
youth attending the conference pledged $1,100 to foreign missions, and 
eventually many recruits for mission work and the pastoral ministry 
resulted from the league's challenge. Fitzgerald S. Parker was general 
secretary of the M. E., South's Epworth League for twenty years. M. P. 
churches chose the title Christian Endeavor for their youth organization 
and gave it a purpose similar to that of the Epworth League. 

Housing the Congregations 

Methodist congregations in Louisiana were diligent in providing 
facilities adequate for their meetings and for service to their communities. 
In 1885 the M. E., South had 173 church buildings, valued at $283,675. 
Ten years later they reported 299 churches, valued at $520,190. In 1897 
they reported fifty-three parsonages, valued at $44,996. M. E. churches 
were fewer and less costly because many had only a few members to 

Some congregations had to improvise and be very resourceful in order 
to provide adequate housing for members and their activities, and others 
had to replace their buildings for one reason or another. The first church 
services in many cases were held outdoors under the trees or a brush 
arbor. At Gilliam the first Methodist service was held in a railway boxcar. 

Renewed Efforts Following the War 119 

Shipping boxes and crates were used as seats, and a crude ladder enabled 
persons to enter the car. The building housing the congregation of First 
Church, M. E., South, Shreveport, was built in 1880 at the order of Bishop 
J. C. Keener, who gave directions "to proceed to build a new church at 
once/ 7 However, it was not ready "at once"— the building was not ready 
until September, 1889! But it served well, and in twenty-five years a new 
and larger one was needed. At Monroe in 1876 a new brick church for 
the M. E., South congregation was completed but not paid for, when it 
collapsed under thirteen inches of snow. An M. P. church in Marion was 
abandoned for a time because of the Civil War, when many of the 
members fled to Texas, taking their slaves with them. 

Often a small congregation needed help financially in erecting its 
building. Grace Church in New Orleans, an M. E. Church, was built with 
a loan made possible by Bishop Wilbur P. Thirkield, who advanced as 
collateral his stock in Procter and Gamble Company. 

Nolley Memorial Church, M. E., South had to erect a new building 
in 1897 because the flooding of a creek had caused severe damage and 
made it impossible to continue using the old one. Bethel Church in Baton 
Rouge had to be rebuilt after federal soldiers burned it. Ross Chapel, the 
home church of Bishop Alexander P. Camphor of the M. E. Church, was 
built largely with pickets from the swamp. 

Names of Louisiana Methodist churches have often been taken from 
their location, such as North Baton Rouge, Clear Creek, University, and 
South Side. Others are named for church leaders or Biblical characters 
or places, such as Wesley, Asbury, Hartzell, Haven, Simpson, Fitzgerald, 
St. Paul, St. Luke, and Mt. Zion. 

Pastoral Functions 

One of the primary functions of pastors was preaching. Before the 
twentieth century, preaching was his chief task, and it was the high point 
of the Protestant worship service. The sermon was forty minutes to an 
hour long -and sometimes longer. It was often doctrinal and was almost 
invariably an exhortation to accept Jesus Christ as lord and savior. Thus, 
it was largely evangelistic, aimed at leading persons to dedicate themselves 
to the Christian life. 

A familiar phrase to preachers was "the sermon barrel," referring to 
the place in which they stored sermon manuscripts or sermon notes. One 
preacher is reported in the Advocate, February 2, 1882, to have identified 
his sermon barrel as a box holding 1,507 sermons. He mused about it: 
"I can see my own soul in this box of sermons. I have poured it out for 
forty years.... Some of them I don't want to see again.... But... they are 
stained with no impurity, embittered with no rancor... marred by no 

120 Becoming One People 

dishonesty.... The profoundest faith that I could cherish have all been 
poured into these sermons/' 

Some sermons were called forth by contemporary issues. For exam- 
ple, a long treatise entitled "The Relation of Baptized Children to the 
Church," by B. B. Moore of Franklinton, Louisiana, appeared in the 
Advocate on January 17, 1884. Moore's conclusion was that ''baptized 
children are members of both the visible and invisible church or kingdom 
until they become individually accountable, and then they are no longer 
members of the visible unless they satisfy and confirm the vows publicly 
taken by their parents in infancy...." 

A related question grew out of the exchange between Methodists and 
Baptists and concerned the proper mode of baptism; Baptists insisted that 
only immersion was proper. One writer in the 1880s put the issue this 
way (and Methodists undoubtedly used this argument): "It is a small mat- 
ter, it would seem, whether the water goes over the subject or its subject 
goes under the water. It makes one sick to think how men can wrangle 
over such questions. . . . One may as well contend one must eat a full meal 
in order to receive the Lord's Supper as to argue that you must be 
drenched in order to be baptized." 21 

Because of the Catholic practice of using prayers for the dead to assist 
them in making progress through purgatory and gaining heaven even- 
tually, another theological issue facing Methodists was prayers for the 
dead. The Advocate dealt with this topic editorially on February 8, 1883, 
calling it a heresy. Some Louisiana Methodist pastors, such as John Mat- 
thews, became so cautious on this matter that they gave prayers for the 
dying reluctantly and only after strong request. 22 

While not considered a dogmatic church with great emphasis on doc- 
trinal formulae and statements, Methodism is loyal to its twenty-five Arti- 
cles of Religion, twenty-four of which John Wesley took from the Church 
of England. In 1880 the conference Journal carried a resolution that "it 
is not safe nor wise for our ministers to permit persons who have been 
expelled. . .or have withdrawn from the conference. . .to preach in our chur- 

Revivals, Conversions, Holiness 

The most controversial theological issue among Methodists nationally 
in this period concerned what was called variously holiness, Christian 
perfection, sanctification, or the second blessing. 

Christian perfection did not mean perfection in knowledge, total 
escape from ignorance, freedom from mistake, immunity to infirmity, 
nor deliverance from temptation. Perfection was, Wesley held, 
another name for holiness.... Such a person is made free from 

Renewed Efforts Following the War 121 

outward sin, delivered from evil thoughts and evil tempers, and so 
filled with Christ that his only motive is pure and holy love. 23 

In 1883 (March 22) the Advocate carried an article by J. A. Parker, then 
pastor at Franklinton, entitled "Sanctification." He wrote, "in the original 
twenty four [Methodist] Articles [of Religion] there is nothing which can 
be taken as a formulated opinion on this doctrine [of sanctification] .... 
The Bible teaches the doctrine of sanctification. . .but the church. . .has never 
subscribed to this doctrine as a higher life or second blessing.../'. 

The most prominent member of the M. E., South conference in Loui- 
siana espousing the doctrine of sanctification and second blessing was 
Beverly Carradine. He transferred to the Louisiana Conference in 1882 
and served St. Charles (now Rayne Memorial) and later Carondolet Street 
Churches until 1890, when he transferred to St. Louis. In 1889 while at 
Carondolet Street Church, he testified that he experienced the instan- 
taneous baptism of the Holy Spirit. In 1892 he wrote a long article on 
holiness that the churchwide Nashville Christian Advocate printed on 
January 2, with a critique by the editor, E. E. Hoss, formerly professor 
at Vanderbilt University and later a bishop. 

In his article, Carradine maintained that in conversion "something 
is left to the regenerated heart that is not made new.... If regeneration 
cannot and does not renew it, then another work of God is required/' 
He also referred to "certain tumultuous and revolutionary movements 
of the flesh that required all the force and watchfulness of the converted 
man to keep down, but that "sanctification puts an end to this tumult 
and revolution." Hoss pointed out that Carradine was proposing that 
"conversion affects the 'soul' while sanctification includes both 'soul and 
body. . . / If Carradine's contention. . .be true, then regeneration is the most 
superficial of works." 

Unfortunately, the practice of so-called holiness sometimes led to 
unholy divisions and tempers. In this period Fitzgerald Church near Cov- 
ington was marked by congregational division on this matter which ended 
with some members going to the Holiness Church and some staying in 
the Methodist. At the 1894 General Conference, the bishops of the M. 
E. Church, South played down an emphasis on holiness and sanctifica- 
tion. Gradually, the doctrine found its place in the church without the 
extremes that had raised opposition to it. Perhaps the revival in 
Shreveport reported in the Advocate on December 23, 1886, provided Loui- 
siana Methodists an example of genuine spiritual renewal without 
elements of extremism which can so easily become controversial. 

At last we have had an old-fashioned revival in Shreveport which 
has lubricated the joints and produced a progressive motion in the 
original methods and normal spirit of Methodism. While there have 
been no explosive conversions, yet the church has been revived in 

122 Becoming One People 

zeal, in love and sympathy, family altars have been erected... pro- 
fessors [of religion] have learned to pray.... 

It was during a month long holiness revival in New Orleans that the 
famous Methodist evangelist, Sam Jones, made a relentless attack on the 
Louisiana lottery. His attack was so forceful and vivid that one local paper 
refused to report his sermons. Nevertheless, Jones succeeded in building 
sentiment against the lottery to help vote it out. 24 

Music in the Churches 

Originally, hymns at services were "lined out" by the leader— often 
the preacher— with no musical instrument accompanying the voices, 
except possibly a pitch pipe. But in the 1880s pump organs were intro- 
duced into more and more of the larger churches. Centenary Methodist 
Church at Franklinton secured the second organ in Washington Parish 
in 1883, while the congregation was still meeting in the Masonic building. 
When a new church building was available in 1885, the organ was moved 
there and "played happily" for the dedicatory services. "It was thought 
that the doxology rolled out much more sacredly when the tones of the 
organ reverberated through the building. This symbolizes the stress the 
entire membership put upon the securing of a temple of worship of their 
own. It was a great day." 25 In 1939 Centenary Church acquired a "fine 
Wicks Pipe Organ." 

Church Policy and the Pastor 

The pastor was responsible for explaining the features of Methodist 
policy to church members. The itinerant system was one of the somewhat 
unique features of Methodist policy. J. B. Walker, a prominent member 
of the conference, wrote an article entitled, "Some Aspects of the Itinerant 
System" which appeared in the Advocate on February 7, 1884. He pro- 
posed that the system was wise but admitted it involved "many sacrifices 
and discomforts on the part of our ministry. It requires the constant break- 
ing up of social ties,... renders difficult the education of children, and sub- 
jects the pastor's family to housing that is not always adaptable to various 
size families." He wrote further that local church members too often tried 
to solve church problems by changing pastors. He insisted that frequently 
the only thing needed was renewed loyalty and understanding on the 
part of the laity, not a new pastor. 

In 1897 an article in the Advocate for June 3 proposed that the 1898 
General Conference might well enlarge the districts and thus require fewer 
presiding elders. The writer also suggested that some people in the con- 
ference wanted official definitions of holiness, sanctification, and perfec- 
tion. He seemed skeptical, however, of the conference's ability to end 

Renewed Efforts Following the War 123 

controversy through such definitions. He pointed out that creeds of the 
church have developed over the ages and resulted from many hard fought 
battles. 'Making a creed is hard work, and having it adopted by everyone 
is still harder work/ 7 he insisted. 

Financial Support for Church and Pastor 

Few churches had a formal budget. Their causes and needs were few 
and basic. They had to fund the pastor's salary, local expenses for such 
items as heat and light, and their part of connectional causes, such as 
support for presiding elder, bishop, and missions. Congregations fre- 
quently welcomed a new pastor with a "pounding/' Members came to 
the parsonage to welcome the new pastor and his family and brought 
gifts of food— a ham or pound of bacon, a pie, a cake, canned food, or 
fresh vegetables. Giving a pound of sugar or something else gave the 
name of "pounding" to the event. Sometimes if an item of considerable 
value was given to the pastor by a member, a fair value of the gift was 
agreed upon and the giver was credited with that amount on the church 
books. To cover obligations requiring cash, church stewards usually visited 
members quarterly to solicit and collect donations. As churches sought 
new and better locations, new sanctuaries, higher salaries for pastors, 
new organs and pianos, they also had to devise more effective ways to 
raise more money. 

Relation of Blacks and Whites 

Methodist pastors in Louisiana in this period had the responsibility 
of guiding their churches out of the past and into a new era of good rela- 
tions between black and white Methodists. Help in setting up the Col- 
ored Methodist Episcopal Church 26 and the maintenance of friendly rela- 
tion between black members of the new church and white members of 
the old were steps in the right direction. Unfortunately, some leaders of 
both episcopal Methodist churches continued to exacerbate race relations 
between Methodists in their respective areas. 

An example of such occurred in 1892 between Bishop Charles B. 
Galloway, editor of the Advocate (1882-1886) and Bishop W. F. Mallalieu, 
M. E. bishop in Louisiana from 1884 to 1893. Mallalieu was the author 
of an article in the New York Christian Advocate early in 1892 critical of 
Methodists in the M. E. Church, South, and Galloway responded on 
February 11 in the New Orleans paper. Galloway charged that Mallalieu 
"calls up slavery from its grave... and makes a severe arraignment of the 
type of Christianity in the South.... He appeals to a dead issue [slavery] 
that has neither advocate nor friend. I do not know a human being in 
the South who wishes the system [of slavery] restored.... [The M. E. 
Church, South] is said to be tainted with deadly blood poison." 

124 Becoming One People 

Fortunately, this was an exceptional case. Most members of the two 
episcopal Methodist churches were glad to forget what had happened 
in the past and to look ahead to friendlier relations. Some M. E. leaders, 
such as Bishop R. S. Foster, realized that it would take time for the 
desirable state of brotherhood among Methodists to be achieved. Not only 
were there problems between white and black Methodists but also 
between different groups of white Methodists. He wrote: '"Who does not 
know that the obliteration of the color line is not within our power? There 
are now White Conferences and there are Colored Conferences.... It is 
beyond our power to make it otherwise, and it will remain so. The attempt 
to change it would only breed confusion, distraction, strife, self- 
destruction." 27 

Progress, however, was being made. In this period, Atticus G. 
Haygood had tremendous influence across the South -including 
Louisiana -in creating better relations between the two races. He evoked 
the best motives of blacks and whites, encouraging them to trust each 
other and to work together. 

Not all Louisiana Methodists followed Hay good's reasoning. Chris- 
tian Keener, the bishop's son, objected to the title of Haygood's book, 
Our Brother in Black: 'The term is chosen with much skill, and is full of 
error and sentimental nonsense, calculated to deceive. It is a sentimental 
use of language which ignores the real difference between the races.... 
The true difference between the Caucasian and African... lies in the very 
nature of the two." 28 And many others wished blacks well -but "in their 

Other voices urging progress were heard— if not ordinarily heeded— in 
Louisiana about the relation of the races. There were probably Methodists 
attending a meeting of Sunday school workers in New Orleans in 1881 
at which Episcopalian George W. Cable spoke. He talked about the treat- 
ment of Samaritans by the Jews in biblical times; then said: "Our 
Samaritan is Chinese, Indian... Negro. Do we love our neighbor as 
ourselves?. . . Do we give him our seat in God's house? Or do we tell him 
to go to the gallery?" 29 

Some indicated a willingness at least to acknowledge that slavery was 
wrong. T. L. Mellen, wrote in the Advocate of September 28, 1882: "I am 
free to confess that I believe Negro slavery, as it existed in the South, 
was inherently and morally evil." Others tended to enumerate the steps 
already taken toward the goal instead of measuring the distance remain- 
ing: "The Negro is free— we wish him to remain free, and to reach the 
highest degree of culture his nature is capable of, and as we have the 
means we ought to help every way, for he has strong claims upon us." 
So wrote W. W. Bennett in the Advocate for March 2, 1882. "In many 
respects the Negroes have improved since the close of the war. They have 
become land-holders [and] built hundreds of churches. . . . ," he continued. 
Other comments show that a positive attitude toward helping blacks take 

Renewed Efforts Following the War 125 

their rightful place in society was present and growing. An example comes 
from the Advocate for January 31, 1884: "To make the most of the Negro 
as a man, citizen, and Christian is the duty of the wisest statesmanship 
and truest Christianity. ,, 

Other Social Issues 

The C. M. E. and the two episcopal Methodist churches joined their 
voices in opposing the Louisiana lottery. In 1884 the M. E., South Con- 
ference affirmed that the lottery was a "bold and defiant infraction of the 
law of God." They also protested "against the perpetuation of the ini- 
quity" and sought to "invoke His divine aid in the extermination of this 
evil...." 30 Five years later the conference referred to the lottery as "con- 
ceived in sin and brought forth in iniquity, and has thus far prolonged 
its life and course of evil by shameful and almost open bribery.... We 
most earnestly urge our State representatives... to do all in their power 
to crush this shame and reproach to our state." 31 

Methodists also examined questions about dancing and the content 
of marriage vows. One letter to the Advocate on September 27, 1883 
inquired, "May Methodists Dance?" The answer was: "There is but one 
authoritative opinion in all denominations, and that is a positive disap- 
proval.... Indulgence in dancing is with us considered a compromise of 
Christian faith and fidelity." Another reflection of the times was the report 
on a debate by a youth group at Felicity Church in New Orleans. The 
question was, should the bride's vow to "obey" her husband be taken 
out of the marriage ritual? Alice Cary Sadler was present and reported 
in the Advocate (December 13, 1885) that the majority of those present 
voted to retain "obey." Miss Sadler reported that she did not agree; she 
proposed replacing it with "trust." 

The Methodist Episcopal Church Serves Blacks 

The largest ethnic minority group in these years was black. The chief 
aid for black Methodists in Louisiana came from the M. E. Church, which 
marshalled a vigorous program for organizing black churches, recruiting 
pastors, and establishing schools, orphanages, and social centers for them, 
all within Methodist Episcopal channels. 

Starting with few members, church buildings, and supportive institu- 
tions such as schools, the M. E. Church made an impressive record by 
1900. By then there were seven districts, 160 appointments, and about 
250 congregations. These congregations had 12,533 members, all of whom 
were black, except for 200 whites in three churches in New Orleans and 
one in Hammond. In 1893 these four churches were transferred to the 
Gulf Mission Conference, an all-white conference. The M. E., South 

126 Becoming One People 

Conference, as noted above, had lost its black members, chiefly to the 
C. M. E. Church, but also many to the M. E. Church. By 1900 there were 
27,000 members in the M. E. Church, South in seven districts, with 112 
appointments and 133 congregations. Since the M. E., South had over 
twice as many members as the M. E. Church and about half the number 
of churches, the Methodist Episcopal Church obviously had many 
churches with small memberships. 

Even though numerous black congregations were small, many of them 
produced outstanding church leaders, and some have already been men- 
tioned. Others were Ernest Lyon, who was born in Belize, attended col- 
lege in New Orleans, and was a pastor there; M. C. B. Mason, native 
of Louisiana; Scott Chinn, grandfather of Walter Scott Chinn, attended 
Thomson Biblical Institute; and J. W. E. Bo wen, Sr., who became impor- 
tant in education. Bowen graduated from New Orleans University in the 
1870s and became one of the first blacks in the United States to earn a 
Ph. D. degree. He went on to become professor and then president of 
Gammon Theological Seminary. 

Some of the black churches in Louisiana became — and have 
remained— outstanding in their ministry. All of them in the early years 
provided their members a place of fellowship and inspiration, and the 
assurance that there were those who cared about their welfare. We men- 
tion some of these churches that are typical. 32 

"Mother Wesley" (now listed simply as Wesley) in New Orleans prob- 
ably should head the list. Founded in 1838, it has been a beacon for the 
others, and has nurtured numerous black leaders of Louisiana 
Methodism. The roster of famous persons who have visited Wesley reads 
like a Who's Who: General U. S. Grant, George W. Cable, Lafcadio Hearn, 
President William McKinley, Miss Helen Keller, Mrs. Elmer Gilmer 
(Dorothy Dix), Cecil B. DeMille, Mr. and Mrs. Julius Rosenwald, and Mary 
McLeod Bethune. 

Trinity United Methodist Church in New Orleans was started on 
Camp Street in 1869 as Simpson Chapel. It later was moved to Coliseum 
Street and then to Valance Street. It gradually became the church serv- 
ing New Orleans University, which merged with Straight College to form 
Dillard. In 1900 it had a membership of 242 and a Sunday school of 220. 
In 1913 the name was changed to Trinity. 

Shady Grove Church near Mansfield began in 1864 under a brush 
arbor with a dirt floor and open air walk. The first building was a "log 
hut." The present building was erected more recently during the pastorate 
of G. L. Thomas. The brief history of Shady Grove Church records: 

The new edifice we now enjoy did not just appear. It was built with 
many wakeful nights, headaches, misunderstandings, shed tears, 
criticisms, and by many fervent prayers and faith in a God who has 
never failed us yet. . . . The leader's vision has not yet come to an end. . . . 

Renewed Efforts Following the War 127 

He can still see a day care center to help working mothers and a center 
to provide wholesome recreation for people of all age groups in the 

Ross Chapel was a small congregation in 1865 when Alexander 
Priestly Camphor (elected bishop for Africa in 1916) was born in Jeffer- 
son Parish. His mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Washington, was the first con- 
vert at the Chapel. As were many churches in earlier years, Ross Chapel 
was destroyed by fire in 1904 and by storm in 1915. 33 

Two strong and important M.E. Churches in Shreveport were St. Paul 
and St. James. The St. James Church building was damaged by a storm 
in 1873 and completely destroyed by fire in 1898. Nevertheless, the 
members rallied and carried on effectively. In 1951 they bought the 
building earlier occupied by the Central Christian Church, raising $125,000 
to make the purchase. Much of that money was advanced as loans by 
members, and it was completely paid for by 1963. The church has done 
an outstanding job of caring for and improving the building. 

St. Paul was organized in Shreveport in 1865, soon after the Civil War 
ended. Former slaves organized it because they decided they wanted their 
own church. Their first meeting place was in the first public school for 
blacks, probably arranged for and staffed by the M. E. Church. It was 
a one room frame building. After a few years, while Pierre Landry was 
pastor, church members arranged for their own building. There were 
dynamic leaders at St. Paul's in the early days, such men as state Senator 
William Harper and Senator— and later Lieutenant Governor— Caesar C. 
Antoine. Across the years well-known pastors such as J. W. E. Bo wen, 
Jr., (later bishop), Samuel Davage, and Pierre Landry have served that 

The Haven United Methodist Church of New Orleans in its history 
has well summed up the goal of many of the churches of Louisiana— and 

In order "to serve the present age" we cannot allow ourselves to 
become a mere rest home for Saints; rather, we must continue to be 
a powerful healing clinic for Sinners, where crooked paths are made 
straight in the laboratory of the preached Gospel of our Lord and 
Savior, Jesus Christ.... The Haven United Methodist Church must 
continue to be a fighter for social righteousness, civil rights, justice 
for all peoples, and all the qualities that characterize us as children 
of God. Her doors must ever be open to the community as a living 
testimony to God's amazing grace and power. The gospel of our Lord 
must always be preached from her pulpit toward the transformation 
of the lives of those who would gladly hear and respond to the Word 
of God in love and faith. 34 

128 Becoming One People 

Serving Other Ethnic Minorities 

Louisiana Methodism has made a unique record in serving an 
unusually large number of ethnic minority groups. In this era the 
Methodist Episcopal congregations for blacks were strengthened, a begin- 
ning was made in Methodist work among the French, major work was 
accomplished among the Germans, and at least slight efforts were made 
among Italians, Syrians, and Greeks. Of course, the major work among 
ethnic minorities was with blacks, and they were in many ways the most 

Italians who came to America were second in number only to Ger- 
mans. They settled chiefly in cities, and that meant for Louisiana in New 
Orleans, where there were 15,000 by 1889. Three Methodist Episcopal 
mission stations were opened there that year by Giovanni B. Giambruno. 
Also established were a deaconess-led effort directed toward helping with 
the home and children, an industrial school, and a Sunday school. They 
did not flourish. An Italian church named St. Mark's was functioning later, 
however, under the M. E. Church, South. 35 

The M. E. Church, South renewed its French mission work in 1879 
with a Canadian, W. J. Picot, in charge. He had success at first, enlisting 
thirty-two members at Jeanerette and organizing three Sunday schools 
with sixty-nine members. The effort soon dwindled. By 1890 the M. E. 
leaders in New Orleans were holding services for the French in two 
chapels, and Sunday schools were well attended. 

Methodist efforts to minister to Germans were more successful even 
than those with the French. Perhaps this was because the Germans in 
Louisiana had a Protestant background. By 1842 there was a German 
church in New Orleans, and by 1860 there were several in that city. At 
least one church divided, and since most Germans opposed slavery, some 
members shifted in 1866 to the M. E. Church. At one time, there was 
a German congregation in Lake Charles. Records show that it was no 
longer active in 1888, and plans were discussed for selling the German 
church building, school, and parsonage. 

In 1874 a Southern German Conference was organized by the M. E. 
Church, and by 1880 it included a New Orleans District. At the end of 
the century, the name First German Church was changed to Franklin 
Street Church (M. E.); later it became Franklin-Napoleon, and still later 
Napoleon. These congregations continued to use the German language 
until about 1900. This German ministry included faithful and effective 
pastors; German names such as Steinman, Bohmfolk, Schmidt, Briehan, 
Deschner, Braun, Schuler or Shuler, are still on Methodist rolls and reveal 
a debt to this early ethnic ministry. 36 

Renewed Efforts Following the War 129 

Services Beyond the Local Church 

Louisiana Methodists recognized the value of expressing their 
religious faith through various agencies that served the general public 
as well as their own members. These agencies included colleges, orphan- 
ages, hospitals, camp meetings, newspapers, and social centers for 
neglected groups such as the poor, the aged, and those discriminated 
against. This kind of service was part of their heritage from John Wesley 
and early Methodism. 

Resolving social problems through public action became a feature of 
American society in this period and expressed itself in the movement 
called Populism. Oscar Handlin explained: "Populism... enlisted the moral 
fervor of many citizens not by its program but by its protest. Something 
was wrong!... Thousands of Americans wished to register their concern 
with the ills of society. The disparity of incomes, the callous disregard 
of the welfare of the helpless, and the corruption of politics cried for 
reform/' 37 

In the church this concern took numerous channels. One was to enlist 
more converts through revivals and camp meetings. Revivals were most 
often held in local churches, and sometimes several churches in a town 
or city made them cooperative events. Camp meetings were numerous 
in the 1880s, especially in northern and western Louisiana. One person 
wrote that camp meetings were "to let the Lord reign in their [people's] 
hearts that their souls might live." Another writer said the sermons at 
camp meetings were simple and there was "no higher criticism, no new- 
fangled theology— Heaven was glorious and Hell was hot." 38 

One famous Methodist camp meeting was held at a tabernacle belong- 
ing to a German settlement near Covington in St. Tammany Parish. It 
was started in 1875 and ran on into the twentieth century. It was under 
the auspices of the Waldheim Methodist Church (M. E., South) and of 
J. B. Ahrens, presiding elder of German churches. Such occasions were 
one way of generating loyalty and enthusiasm for the work of the church. 

Centenary and Mansfield Colleges, and Others 

But there were other and more lasting influences for the long, steady 
struggles of the church to influence persons and society. One of these 
was education. Centenary College struggled to begin operation anew in 
1865; its real opening was in early October, 1866, when it had fifty students 
and three professors. The college had lost its previous president, John 
C. Miller, and elected William H. Watkins as the replacement. Gradually 
the enrollment increased, but the college was very slow to gain any real 
momentum. There were no graduates in 1875 or 1877, and only fifteen 
during the entire seventies. In the summer of 1878 one of the worst 
epidemics of yellow fever broke out in Louisiana. The next year only 

130 Becoming One People 

forty-seven students enrolled, and of these twenty-five were in the col- 
lege and thirty-two in the preparatory department. In 1882, 111 students 
showed up, including ten preachers and ten sons of preachers. The col- 
lege was the chief training ground for Methodist preachers in the state. 39 

In the Advocate for September 27, 1883, "A Fieldman" wrote about 
"those hard- worked and poorly paid professors at Centenary College," 
and pleaded for the repair of the buildings before they were beyond restor- 
ing. "If this college goes down," he wrote, "we deserve no other, and 
we will have no other for a generation to come. . . . The day for liberal action 
has come." The faculty had taken money from their meager salaries to 
repair the roof; they were able to raise $9.87! From 1866 to his death in 
1906, Bishop John C. Keener worked hard to stabilize the college. 40 

Centenary, however, made only slow progress in its general opera- 
tions and its finances. In 1888 W. L. Hunnicutt was elected president, 
and he soon turned the tide financially. By 1890 there were thirteen 
graduates, and the outlook was better. The glorious year 1891 saw each 
faculty member paid his full salary and a great religious revival among 
the students. But that year also saw Millsaps College opened in Jackson, 
Mississippi, drawing off Methodist students and financing from Mississip- 
pi. From that time, Louisiana Methodists had the whole responsibility 
for Centenary College. 41 

In 1884 Mansfield Female College was mentioned as being hard- 
pressed financially. In 1890 Centenary and Mansfield Colleges jointly 
employed T. B. Clifford as agent for their institutions, and he issued a 
small paper called The Educational Echo to promote interest in and sup- 
port for these colleges. For two years in the 1890s a "male annex" was 
operated at Mansfield College but it did not prove successful; a newspaper 
story reported that this innovation "enraged the local citizens," and it 
ended quickly. 42 Enrollment remained low through this era. 

In 1883 a tragedy occurred which was never fully explained; the presi- 
dent of Mansfield College was murdered. In his, Louisiana Methodism, 
Robert H. Harper wrote: 

The summer of 1883 President [J. Lane] Borden was assassinated in 
the business section of the town by a young probationer [beginner] 
of the Louisiana Conference and his brother, both natives of 
Mansfield— for exactly what will never be known. The ugly grievance 
claimed by the brothers was never proven, and the brethren of J. Lane 
Borden remained steadfast in their allegiance to the dead. In his 
memoir... it was declared that no complaint had ever been made 
against him by his brethren of the Conference. 43 

It is worth noting that the Louisiana Conference of the M. E. Church, 
South contributed funds to colleges of the new C. M. E. Church, in this 
era, especially to Paine College in Augusta, Georgia. They also encouraged 

Renewed Efforts Following the War 131 

their church members to contribute to the school, which they considered 
to be partly their responsibility. 

Another college venture by Louisiana Methodists was Pierce and 
Paine College, which began with glowing promise in the early 1860s. It 
is not a certainty that the conference had officially sponsored it. 
Regardless, it did not prosper and soon fell by the wayside. In 1887 the 
buildings were put up for sale. 

The Methodist Protestants in Louisiana established Mount Zion Male 
and Female College in Grant Parish, six miles north of Montgomery. The 
college bulletin noted that there were regular steamboat runs to Alexan- 
dria, at which point persons could travel on the Texas and Pacific line 
and on Morgan's Louisiana and Texas railroads. J. M. P. Hickerson was 
president of Mt. Zion College and professor; four other professors are 
listed, with three to be supplied. Junior and senior class students were 
charged four dollars tuition for a month of twenty school days. The col- 
lege offered B.S., A.B., and A.M. degrees. 

Methodist Episcopal Educational Institutions 

When the Methodist Episcopal Church began establishing its ministry 
in New Orleans in 1865-66, the leaders at once planned schools for blacks. 
The Thomson Biblical Institute was started in 1866 to train black ministers. 
In 1869 Union Normal School was begun and for its first year was called 
Fenton Normal School. It continued as Union Normal School until 1873, 
when it was renamed New Orleans University. In 1884 a new location 
was secured on St. Charles Avenue and new buildings erected at a cost 
of about $85,000. It was flanked on one side by a Jewish orphanage and 
on the other by an "Episcopal Asylum for Boys." During these years, and 
until about 1915, the Methodist school "was largely a secondary school 
with its largest enrollment in the secondary grades." 44 

The La Teche orphanage, which Methodist Episcopal leaders had set 
up one hundred miles west of New Orleans, underwent further develop- 
ment in this period. Its name was changed to La Teche Seminary, and 
in 1883 W. L. Gilbert of Winsted, Connecticut donated $5,000 to the home. 
The money went into buildings and endowment funds. It was renamed 
Gilbert Seminary and later Gilbert Academy and Agricultural College. 
Still later Gilbert Academy was tied to the College/University under the 
title of New Orleans College and Gilbert Academy. The Peck Industrial 
Home, later called the Peck School of Domestic Science and Art, was 
added to the University and put under the leadership of Mrs. J. C. 
Hartzell. 45 

The M. E. Church poured a sizable amount of money into their mis- 
sion work in Louisiana. They had many members who seemingly had 
ample funds to contribute to such causes. Their 1877 missionary society 

132 Becoming One People 

report showed that $1,600 was turned over to the three German churches, 
and for other churches (presumably for blacks), they allocated $6,500. In 
1901 they listed for work with whites in the South (Gulf Mission) $2,139 
and for work with blacks in Louisiana, $2,662; for French work, $533; 
Italian work, $2,139; and southern German work, $3,438, some of which 
may have been for work outside Louisiana. For the rest of Louisiana, 
presumably for ministry to blacks, they allocated $2,935. This meant that 
the total allocation for Louisiana in 1877 was $8,100, and the total for 1901 
was $12,793. The total mission budget of the M. E. Church for 1901 was 
$1,811,418. 46 

Women Struggle for a Place of Service 

The role of women in the church was a matter of increasing discus- 
sion. This was true not only regarding their place in the local church but 
also in annual and general conferences. The decision of the General Con- 
ferences to approve churchwide as well as local women's organizations 
dedicated to home and foreign missions meant a new day for the role 
of women in the church. 

But the new day did not come without struggle and anguish. 
Methodist women had been taught the traditional biblical view that they 
were secondary (and this meant inferior in some minds) to men. Some 
women accepted this— or said they did, probably in order to avoid an 
immediate confrontation. For example, Mrs. Thomas Fullilove, president 
of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the M. E., South, Loui- 
siana Conference, expressed this opinion to the conference in 1890: 

Woman's position has provoked much discussion.... They were 
created twain in one, man first, woman second, and subordinate. All 
the arguments of all the learned schools can never gainsay this relative 
creation. A helpmeet for him, and only when man fails to press for- 
ward from weakness or want of courage, is it in accordance with God's 
plan for woman, the reserve force, to come to the front. It is right 
and proper for man to claim... his... off ice as head.... We are content 
with our allotted place.... 47 

There were references to the right of women to preach, but even some 
women minimized that possibility. For example, in 1899 Mrs. Florence 
E. Russ, president of the Woman's Home Missionary Society, stated to 
the same conference: "We women cannot preach, and would not if we 
could, but by God's help we will set you [preachers] free to do it by pro- 
viding comfortable homes for you and your loved ones." 48 

Even women who were recognized as highly accomplished were not 
universally welcomed into the pulpit. When Frances E. Willard was 
invited to speak at Carondolet Street Church, in the 1890s, Bishop J. C. 
Keener and his family had come to church not knowing she was to "fill 

Renewed Efforts Following the War 133 

the pulpit/' They were seated and ready to join in the service. But when 
the bishop saw Miss Willard going into the pulpit, he reached for his hat, 
and his whole family marched out. Bishop Nolan B. Harmon, Jr., got this 
story from his father, who as a boy witnessed the incident. 49 

On the other hand, the Journal recorded in 1891 that the Louisiana 
Conference of the M. E. Church urged Mrs. Amanda Smith, "one of God's 
special and highly honored evangelists/' to spend several weeks holding 
evangelistic services in Methodist churches in New Orleans. And not all 
Methodists were offended by Frances Willard's speaking in the Methodist 
pulpit at Carondolet Church. Caroline E. Merrick, wife of the prominent 
jurist on the Supreme Court of Louisiana, Edwin Thomas Merrick, wrote: 
"Thus, the New Orleans Methodist Church, that indomitable pioneer of 
reform, proclaimed 'all hail!' to Frances Willard and the glorious cause!" 50 

The Varied Strategies of Church Women 

Women in this late nineteenth century era adopted several strategies 
in their effort to find a larger place in the church. Deborah Drash, pastor 
of St. Luke's United Methodist Church, Baton Rouge, in the 1980s ana- 
lyzed the various ways women leaders have sought to cope with the 
refusal of society to allow them to enlarge their role in church or society. 
She finds four typical ways in which Methodist women have reacted over 
the years: 

1 . Those Who Fight. Some women challenge f orthrightly what they 
consider a "put-down." Women in this category were Anna 
Howard Shaw, Methodist Protestant minister, and Phoebe Palmer 
and Mary McLeod Bethune, both Methodist Episcopal women. 

2. Those Who Reform. Some women attack other evils and make 
a reputation as capable persons. An example was Frances Willard, 
president of the National and World's Woman's Christian 
Temperance Union. 

3. Those Who Conform. Some women did not break all ties to those 
with whom they disagreed but used the ties to achieve their pur- 
poses. Examples were Annie Turner Wittenmeyer and Ann 
Hester of Louisiana. 

4. Those Who Wait. Some women were content not to challenge 
current practices but to wait until attitudes changed. An exam- 
ple was Mrs. Maggie Van Cott of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church. 51 

134 Becoming One People 

The Woman's Societies 

The first area in which women made a place of service and leader- 
ship for themselves in the church was in woman's societies for home and 
foreign mission service. Women of the M. E. Church organized the 
churchwide Woman's Foreign Missionary Society in 1869, with units in 
local churches as well as district and conference structures. They recruited 
young women to go as missionaries to foreign countries and also to do 
mission work in needy areas at home. They also contributed funds for 
home and foreign mission work. 

When J. C. and Mrs. Hartzell came to New Orleans in 1870, he became 
pastor of Ames Chapel (M. E., formerly St. Charles, M. E. Church, South), 
and Mrs. Hartzell organized schools for freed women. In 1878 she wrote 
M. E. headquarters and set forth a plan for further aid to freed women. 
As a result, she received funding for this work and soon had four women 
missionaries helping her. By 1879, she was directing seven missionaries 
and eight schools, five of them industrial schools for women and girls. 
She was instrumental in 1880-81 in organizing the Woman's Home Mis- 
sionary Society nationwide and in getting it incorporated into the church's 
structure. The next year she organized units in Louisiana. 52 

Among M. E. enterprises in New Orleans was the Peck Industrial 
Home. It was built in 1889 and burned down in 1897. Later it was rebuilt. 
M. E. missionaries also worked among the French and Italian people; Eliza 
Page was in this work for twenty-six years. 

In the M. E. Church, South, a women's board of foreign missions 
was first envisioned by Elizabeth Caroline Dowdell of Auburn, Georgia. 
She wrote Bishop James O. Andrew about her dream of southern 
Methodist women having a share in mission work. She had kinfolks in 
Louisiana, such as Mrs. L. D. Merrick, Silas Charles Dowdell, Mrs. Joseph 
Jones, and Mrs. T. P. Fullilove, who joined her efforts and carried on 
effectively. 53 Out of that dream came the Woman's Foreign Missionary 
Society, which was officially sanctioned in 1878. 

The women of the Louisiana Conference, M. E., South organized in 
1879. The first recorded conference wide meeting was held in Mansfield 
in June, 1884, with Mrs. John Pipes, vice-president, presiding. Of the 
twenty-six societies, nine were represented and brought reports. They 
were: Keatchie-Belle Bower, Grand Cane, Trenton, Faulk's Chapel, 
Colony-Trenton, Pleasant Hill, Atlanta, Mansfield, and Friendship. Mrs. 
T. P. Fullilove of Keatchie was elected president, in absentia. She was 
informed of her election by friends who came from the meeting and 
addressed her as "Madame President." She filled the office most capably 
from that date until 1897. Mrs. Samford Brown McCutchen was elected 
treasurer and served seventeen years, and Elizabeth Victoria Paxson was 
elected secretary and served for at least twelve years. 54 

Renewed Efforts Following the War 135 

In the late 1870s three churches in New Orleans organized the Mex- 
ican Missionary Society to help in work with women in Mexico, and one 
young woman from New Orleans was in charge of a girls' school in Mex- 
ico City. These churches also sent money to help support the French Mis- 
sion in Louisiana. In addition, the Woman's Parsonage and Home Mis- 
sion Society of the Louisiana M. E. Church, South operated an industrial 
school in New Orleans to help poor, needy, and neglected women. 

Starting about 1893, the Mary Werlein Mission also served women 
who needed help. It was located at 1026 Tchoupitoulas Street and was 
the only permanent center of missionary operations in the city. Mrs. Lillie 
Meekins was the dedicated worker here for a quarter of a century. In 1896 
the conference society made an appropriation for establishing a boarding 
home for working women. The home was planned, but its construction 
was delayed. 

In addition to these new, extremely important, and highly effective 
avenues of service, Methodist women continued with more traditional 
tasks. The pastor's wife, often with help from women of the congrega- 
tion, had to make the parsonage clean, presentable, and comfortable, and 
sometimes, this was not so easy. One "preacher's wife" wrote to the 
Advocate (February 4, 1897) as follows: "We have moved again, and 'tis 
the same old story. The walls and floor were a sight to behold.... Even 
the stove, pots, and pans were all left dirty. Old bottles, letters, papers, 
shoes, stockings, and a general mixture of old clothes, were found scat- 
tered; and wives, I would advise you to burn all the letters you get from 
your hubby." 

Thus through their parsonage work and home and foreign mission 
projects, women in all the groups which are now merged in The United 
Methodist Church were finding a special place of service for themselves 
in the church. 

Remaining Barriers for Women 

The next barrier Methodist women faced was their exclusion as 
delegates to annual and general conferences. Even the Methodist Prot- 
estant Church, which pioneered in giving laymen a place in church con- 
ferences, did not admit women until around the turn of the century. 

The M. E. Church faced this issue in the 1890s by asking local churches 
to be the first to vote on it. The Louisiana M. E. Conference of 1891 was 
told that 1,445 local church members had voted to approve women as 
delegates to General Conference, but 3,399 had voted against it. The con- 
ference then voted thirty-one for and eighty-two against. The next year, 
however, fifty-seven delegates voted for the proposal and fifty-three 

In 1896 delegates to the Louisiana M. E. Conference were again asked 
to affirm women as delegates to the General Conference. An 

136 Becoming One People 

overwhelming majority voted for it this time; the vote was 116 for and 
only three against. Thus, by the end of the nineteenth century, women 
were eligible to become delegates to the M. E. General Conference, but 
it was 1922 before this step was taken by the M. E. Church, South. 

M. E. women in Louisiana were making their mark in local churches 
too. When the conference attacked the Louisiana lottery, women in the 
local churches joined in. Their opposition to the liquor industry was 
shown in 1894 when they welcomed Frances Willard, head of the 
Woman's Temperance Union and a staunch Methodist, to New Orleans 
for a rally. In the course of her speech, Willard made a passing and 
somewhat negative reference to "the great dark-faced mobs." Whether 
she intended to refer to blacks is not certain, but it was interpreted that 
way. Ida Wells, called "that plucky little colored American woman," 
challenged Frances Willard and asked for a public response. Willard not 
only retracted the statement but also announced that she would begin 
campaigning for an anti-lynching law. 55 

There was also the question of women preachers, which was being 
discussed but would not be raised officially for some years. A letter headed 
"Women Preachers" was submitted to the December 15, 1885, issue of 
the Advocate by a writer who stated that he would "gracefully surrender" 
his opposition to women as preachers if anyone could show him in the 
Bible a reference to women preachers. 

Regardless of their status and offices in the church, women were one 
of the mainstays of church— and society. In these earlier years that was 
perhaps truer than ever. In one local church history these "early day 
saints" are described as follows: 

They took care of the preachers, took care of homes and families, 
made gardens, made clothes, canned food, scrubbed clothes, ironed 
the hard way, carried water, nursed the sick, bathed the dead, 
delivered the babies, comforted the sorrowing, counselled those with 
problems, fed and lodged the wayfarers, shared with the hungry, 
attended services whenever possible, said grace over meals they had 
prepared, assumed every obligation of community life and worked 
for its betterment in every way. 56 

The Methodist Press in Louisiana 

The major Methodist papers in the state— the New Orleans Christian 
Advocate of the M. E. Church, South and the New Orleans Advocate (later 
changed to the Southwestern Christian Advocate), carried on effectively in 
this period, with the usual problems and successes. In addition, The 
Western Protestant, serving the Methodist Protestants, was published from 
1880 to 1900 in Haynesville, Louisiana. 

Renewed Efforts Following the War 137 

New Orleans Christian Advocate 

Linus Parker, product of the M. E. Church, South in Louisiana served 
as the editor from 1870 to 1882, when he was elected bishop. In later years, 
Bishop Parker reflected on what is expected of an editor and what qualities 
he should have. "He is not supposed to have any temper. There must 
be no impatience, no resentment/' Parker went on to comment on the 
ill treatment the editor must be prepared to take. "His readers. . .have their 
likes and dislikes, and are not slow to tell him. . . . Next to a bishop, an 
editor is the best abused of men. . . ." On the other hand, Parker continued 
and pointed out the compensations that come to editors. "Where there 
is much toil, drudgery, and trial of patience, there are also 
compensations— encouraging words from appreciative readers, from those 
who have been comforted in trouble, guided in perplexity, or led to Christ 
through the paper. . . . The editor is the helper of all." 57 Bishop J. C. Keener 
was editor just after the Civil War, and in 1883 he wrote that the reading 
public in Louisiana presented a problem for the editor. He wrote, "its 
laborers are 'illiterate/ and its readership... [is] quite circumscribed." 

Charles B. Galloway followed Parker, serving as editor from 1882 to 
1886. In his first issue he referred to a writer who said that the Advocate 
was a training school for the episcopacy. Galloway replied that the prin- 
ciple might apply to the past but not the future. Nevertheless, he was 
elected bishop after he had served as editor for four years. 

Following Galloway as editor was Charles W. Carter, who served until 
1893. The paper had financial difficulties in 1886-1887. The publisher went 
bankrupt, and that prevented the paper from being issued regularly. 
Litigation was required to resolve some of the difficulties connected with 
the situation, and by the time the paper was functioning normally again, 
it had lost some of its subscribers. Warren C. Black served as editor from 
1894 to 1900. 

New Orleans Advocate 

The M. E. paper began publication in 1866. Ten years later, the 
General Conference authorized the Book Concern to publish it as one 
of the official papers of the church. At that point it changed its name to 
Southwestern Christian Advocate. That same year Joseph C. Hartzell was 
elected editor and served until 1882. For the next two years Lewis P. 
Cushman edited the paper. For the 1884-1888 quadrennium the editor 
was Marshall W. Taylor. A. E. Albert served from 1888 to 1892, and then 
E. W. S. Hammond guided the paper until 1896. 

In 1896, Isaac B. Scott, a prominent black preacher, was named editor. 
Born in Kentucky, he spent fifteen years in Texas as pastor and as col- 
lege president. He increased the circulation and influence of the 
Southwestern Advocate. Again the editorship proved to be the stepping 

138 Becoming One People 

stone to the episcopacy. By 1904, Newman, Hartzell, and Scott had been 
elected, and within a few years three other editors were elected bishops. 
Hartzell and Scott were elected as missionary bishops and would serve 
only in the mission field. 

In the early years, the editors of both the M. E. and the M. E., South 
used their editorial columns to express their thoughts and concerns about 
the relationship of the two churches. Linus Parker's comments in the 
February 2, 1882, issue of the Advocate were somewhat typical: "It is not 
essential that the different Methodist bodies be organically united, but 
it is essential... that all the branches of the one great family should be 
mutually cooperative/' 

At the Close of the Century 

Near the end of the nineteenth century the M. E. Church in Loui- 
siana reported 12,533 members; and the M. E., South had a few over 
27,000. Methodist Protestants reported 2,115 members in the state in 1901. 
We have no statistics available from the United Brethren Church for this 

The M. E. Church had reached multitudes of blacks who had never 
been brought into the church -and some who had been in the M. E. 
Church, South. Membership in the M. E. Church and participation in 
its programs gave blacks the opportunity to develop their talents. Their 
presence in the M. E. Church indicates that their status in society was 
improving and that very membership gave it another boost. Blacks were 
gaining in confidence and self-esteem, and whites were adjusting to the 

As the nineteenth century drew to a close, American Methodists lived 
in a well settled continent, with a growing technology capable of reliev- 
ing some of the burdens of manual labor and of turning some of the 
natural resources to the service of mankind. The population was decreas- 
ingly rural and increasingly urban -especially for the immigrants, who 
by 1900 made up one-seventh of the American population. However, 
there were minuses, as well as pluses. There were still divisions and 
discrimination because of color, race, religious, and ethnic differences, 
"and the recurrent disregard of human dignity in the name of economic 
progress were stark reminders that all was not well with the land." 58 
Thus Louisiana Methodists still had tasks to challenge them in seeking 
to make the state more nearly a Christian society. 


Entering a New Century 


Ouring the early part of this era, Louisiana Methodists 
expressed a spirit of optimism. There was still uncertainty and controversy 
over the meaning of the doctrine of holiness, but this would not cause 
serious problems. The M. E. Church, South had some disagreement con- 
cerning the location and ownership of their educational institutions, and 
discussions of pros and cons of unification became a leading issue among 
the various Methodist churches. 

The optimism of Louisiana Methodists was revealed in these words 
from the January 4, 1906, Advocate: 'The year 1905 has closed with our 
country at peace with all the world, with our barns full. . .with a contented 
and happy people in health and good spirits, rejoicing in the smile. What 
of the future?" The article went on to express also a profound sense of 
mission to those in need in their own area as well as those elsewhere. 

We would not be so presumptuous as to affirm that the Lord had 
laid solely upon us the evangelization of the world— he expects us 
to do only our part in saving the regions beyond; but we have millions 
of the unsaved at our own door. Our cities especially are literally con- 
gested with wicked and ignorant souls, who, if they ever hear the 
Gospel, must hear it from us. 

Methodists Ready to Serve 

Louisiana Methodists were beginning to have the organization and 
the manpower— and the woman power— to provide effective ministry for 
the people of the state. The Louisiana Conference of the M. E. Church, 
South had the whole state as its territory after 1894, when the General 
Conference of that church shifted all of the remaining churches in the 
state from the Mississippi Conference to the Louisiana Conference. 
Wesleyans of all branches had used their influence to help drive the Loui- 
siana lottery out of existence. Six of their ministers had been chosen as 
bishops— Holland N. McTyeire, John C. Keener, Linus Parker, and 
Charles B. Galloway from the M. E. Church, South, and John P. Newman 


140 Becoming One People 

and Joseph C. Hartzell from the M. E. Church. Members of the episcopal 
Methodist churches, especially, were increasing in numbers. They were 
also growing in their understanding of the gospel message, attested to 
by their concerns for the poor and ill as well as their efforts to learn more 
about the biblical message. Women's mission groups were active and 
growing, and youth were joining and supporting the Ep worth League 
and Christian Endeavor. 

As the new century approached, editor Warren C. Black of the 
Advocate became obsessed with the concept of newness and expressed 
his thoughts in these words: 

Something New 

In the first place, God's mercy is new, every morning, noon, night 
and between times. After plodding along quite awhile in the old nine- 
teenth century we are soon to have a new century. Was there ever 
anything bigger and newer than a new century?... 

On top of these things... we of the New Orleans Advocate family 
are to have a new editor for the new Advocate that has been new every 
week. 1 

But the new editor, John W. Boswell, almost did not make it. He came 
to New Orleans in January to arrange for the transfer of the editorship 
and management, but he and Black could not agree on how much of the 
equipment and funds were to be turned over to Boswell. After concluding 
that a settlement was impossible, the new editor resigned and left town. 
The chairman of the publishing committee, however, was able to work 
out a satisfactory arrangement, and Boswell was reelected and served for 
nine years. 

The Advocate was a typical church paper, containing editorials, news 
of the local churches, conferences, and institutions, letters from readers, 
and reprints from other papers. It also carried a fair amount of advertis- 
ing, but always suffered from inadequate circulation. In 1905 it had 1,228 
subscribers. The Board of Publication gave Boswell a dubious recommen- 
dation in the issue of February 9, 1905: "He is giving the Conference the 
best paper of which he is capable." Some of the ads presented products 
sold by Methodist business men. The Werlein family of New Orleans, 
for example, advertised their musical instruments, with violins listed at 
three dollars and up. 

As this Advocate reflected what was going on among members of the 
M. E. Church, South and what issues concerned them, similarly, the M. 
E. Church's paper for Louisiana, The Southwestern Advocate served its 

Entering a New Century 141 

constituents. From 1896 to 1904 Isaiah B. Scott was the editor, and from 
1904 to 1920 Robert Elijah Jones served as editor. Both were later elected 

Educational Troubles 

Centenary College 

Twice in this era members of the M. E. Church, South in Louisiana 
went through traumatic experiences related to educational institutions 
with which they were involved. First was the effort to move Centenary 
College from Jackson, Louisiana to Shreveport. Second was the trauma 
of the severance of Vanderbilt University in Nashville from the M. E. 
Church, South and the effect this episode had on members of the Loui- 
siana Conference. 

In 1904 a group called the Progressive League of Shreveport offered 
to turn over to the Louisiana M. E., South Conference assets with a poten- 
tial value of about $85,000— if they would move Centenary College to 
Shreveport. Consideration of this offer raised a question about the actual 
ownership of the college, with the trustees— or a part of them— insisting 
that they owned it. The conference, on the other hand, at its December, 
1904, session asserted for the record that "the Board of Trustees hold the 
said property... as the property of the church/ 7 and demanded that the 
Board "convey title of said property to the Louisiana Annual Conference 
at their next called or regular meeting. . . ," 2 If the Board refused to do this, 
the conference declared it would take legal action. Concerning the offer 
from the Progressive League of Shreveport, the conference asked for fur- 
ther time to work out the legal questions involved. 

The controversy became an issue throughout Louisiana Methodism, 
and numerous articles and letters appeared in the Advocate. An article 
appearing in the January 26, 1905, issue declared "The legal. . .title is vested 
in a Board of Trustees, subject to well-known limitations." Various solu- 
tions to the issue were proposed. One article asserted in its title: 
"Centenary College Too Old and Too Rare a Growth to be Transplanted." 
One proposal suggested that Centenary be sold and the money used to 
enlarge Mansfield Female College and make it co-educational. Another 
called for Centenary to remain in Jackson and for people in Shreveport 
to raise money and establish a new college. Bishop Keener, chairman of 
the trustees, bluntly said, "If you want another college, build it, but let 
Centenary alone." By July, 1905, an article headed "Centenary College 
Muddle" reported that several members of the Board of Trustees had 
resigned and been replaced. Then, after a bit of legal maneuver, the con- 
troversy was taken to court. 3 

142 Becoming One People 

Finally, the Advocate on December 7, 1905, reported that disputing 
parties had reached an agreement just before the trial was to begin: 

The defendants, representatives of the... Conference, recognized that 
the Board of Trustees had rights, and the Board recognized that the 
Church had rights. With this understanding, they could readily come 
together and settle their differences. 

The Board of Trustees, on their part, agreed to make title to 
the... Conference, and the representatives of the Conference agreed 
to maintain a literary institution at Jackson, La. . . . Thus happily ends 
what promised to be a source of trouble. 

Within two years, the conference had changed its mind about keep- 
ing Centenary at Jackson. The 1907 annual conference authorized the sale 
of the grounds and buildings of Centenary College, Jackson, Louisiana, 
for school purposes, according to the Journal. All things considered, the 
decision to move Centenary to Shreveport was sensible. Shreveport was 
a growing city and had a much larger population- than Jackson. 
Demographic shifts seemed to favor the move as did the growing number 
of Methodists in the northwestern part of the state. The Shreveport 
District would gain and maintain the largest membership of any district 
in the conference. Statistically, it became the leader in almost all aspects 
of Methodist activities. Perhaps Centenary College is both an effect and 
a cause of Methodist success in Shreveport and northwest Louisiana! 

Vanderbilt University 

The other traumatic situation for Louisiana members of the M. E. 
Church, South in this era involving a Methodist educational institution 
was the severance of Vanderbilt University's ties to the denomination. 
It involved the careers of two ministers in the Louisiana Conference and 
the feelings of many. That episode is a complicated story, told in detail 
in the 1985 history of Vanderbilt University entitled, Gone With the Ivy 
by Paul K. Conklin. In Part Four, called "Divorce Proceedings," Conklin 
writes that separation resulted partly from a struggle between an emerg- 
ing newer scholarship and an established older theological tradition in 
the church. Certainly that was the way it was perceived by one contributor 
to the July 5, 1917, edition of the Advocate: ''Vanderbilt was a greater curse 
than a blessing to our church because of its questionable theology. . . . Since 
we could not reform, convert, or regenerate Vanderbilt, to lose it was 
a blessing." 

But not all Louisiana Methodists felt that way. Some had close con- 
nections with Vanderbilt. Nolan B. Harmon, Sr., (father of the bishop), 
who grew up in New Orleans and attended Carondolet Church, was a 
student at Vanderbilt in the 1880s. In 1904 J. W. Reed and A. A. Bernard 
were appointed as students to Vanderbilt from the New Orleans District. 

Entering a New Century 143 

Also in the early 1900s two members of the conference, Thomas Carter 
and Henry B. Carre, were invited to become faculty members of Vander- 
bilt's Biblical Department (now designated as the Divinity School), and 
historian Paul K. Conklin called these "important appointments." Carter 
had been teaching at Tulane University, and Carre had been president 
of Centenary College. 

But Carter and Carre were caught in the backwash of feeling against 
Vanderbilt University after the church connection was dissolved in 
1914-15. With some resentment, the 1914 Louisiana Conference referred 
to the loss of the university as one which the court had forced upon the 
church. It also commended the plan for the M. E. Church, South to sup- 
port and strengthen Emory University in Atlanta and Southern Methodist 
University in Dallas; they agreed to encourage young theologs from Loui- 
siana to attend the latter. Bishop James Atkins and the conference 
reappointed Carter and Carre to their professorships in 1915. But in 1916 
there was sentiment against continuing these appointments. Robert Henry 
Harper reported that the presiding bishop, E. E. Hoss, felt strongly about 
the loss of Vanderbilt and opposed appointing Methodists as professors 
there. The conference refused to recommend that the two men be 
reappointed; as a result, Carre was "located" at his own request, and 
Carter was "located" against his wishes. To be located means to lose one's 
membership in the conference. Carre never returned to membership in 
the conference. Carter was readmitted in 1932, and he was again 
appointed as professor at Vanderbilt University! 4 

Disunity Over Union 

Leaders and members of the two episcopal Methodist denominations 
had discussed union— pro and con— since they divided in 1844. They were 
gradually inching toward that goal through cooperative involvement in 
joint projects as well as union negotiations. Fitzgerald S. Parker, secretary 
of the Louisiana Conference, M. E. Church, South, was a member of the 
commission that in 1905 produced the hymnal adopted jointly by these 
two churches. Methodist Protestants were not involved in union negotia- 
tions until mid-1930. 

Not all Methodists in the two episcopal churches favored union. Editor 
John W. Boswell of the Advocate declared in the issue of May 4, 1905, "The 
Union of the two bodies would not add a single sinner to the church." 
Boswell also charged (October 5, 1905) that the creation of an interna- 
tional Epworth League conference was designed just to promote the union 
of the M. E. and M. E., South Churches, and he criticized the recent league 
conference because of what he considered to be hypocritical response to 
the modest role of blacks. He wrote, "crocodile tears [were] shed by 

144 Becoming One People 

Northern leaders because. . .Negroes are not put forward as often as they 

In 1914 the General Conference of the M. E. Church, South meeting 
in Oklahoma City, drafted and adopted suggestions regarding union, 
afterwards called the "Oklahoma Declaration." R. H. Wynn, president 
of Centenary College, was secretary of the standing committee of the con- 
ference on church relations, which helped expedite the "Declaration." The 
General Conference considered its "Declaration" to be tentative, "but 
nevertheless... [to contain] the basic principles of a genuine unification 
of the Methodist bodies in the United States. . . ." 5 Also, the General Con- 
ference named Judge H. H. White of Alexandria, Louisiana as one of its 
representatives on the Commission on Unification. 

In a lengthy paper delivered at an early meeting of the joint Com- 
mission on Unification, Judge White spelled out his view of the place of 
blacks in the M. E. Church, South, writing that "the color line must be 
drawn firmly and unflinchingly, in State, Church, and society, without 
any deviation whatever... and that there must be absolute separation of 
social relations. . . . The only way in which a union. . .can be brought about 
will be by the immediate or gradual elimination of the negro member- 
ship." 6 

But that was only the beginning. Many meetings were held in many 
places and many plans explored. Louisiana representatives made their 
contributions, and some of them changed their minds. In February, 1916, 
a conference was held in Evanston, Illinois called "A Working Conference 
on the Union of American Methodism." It was a meeting of many leaders 
of American Methodism and of the joint Commission on Unification. At 
this conference, among those who read papers were J. W. E. Bo wen, Sr., 
who had been a brilliant student at New Orleans University and Boston 
University and had gone on to become a pastor and then professor and 
president at Gammon Theological Seminary; Fitzgerald S. Parker, 
member of Louisiana Conference all his adult life, pastor for sixteen years, 
and conference secretary for twenty; and Robert Elijah Jones, editor of 
the Southwestern Christian Advocate in New Orleans from 1904 to 1920. John 
M. Moore said of Jones's contribution to union, "He was always con- 
siderate, reasonable, encouraging, and forceful. His fine spirit gave great 
aid in working out the status of the Negro membership." 7 

An event occurred in 1916 that set off a storm of criticism in Loui- 
siana aimed at the movement for Methodist union. Bishop Eugene Hen- 
drix of the M. E. Church, South, was "fraternal visitor" to the General 
Conference of the M. E. Church, meeting in Saratoga Springs. When he 
was officially greeted by presiding Bishop Earl Cranston, the two bishops 
clasped hands as a symbol of their shared hopes for the union of the two 

Hendrix received sharp criticism for this gesture of friendship from 
the editor of the Advocate, Robert A. Meek, and a number of his readers. 

Entering a New Century 145 

In the issue for June 1, 1916, Meek called Hendrix's gesture an "officious 
interference." S. A. Steel, who served at First Church, Shreveport and 
at Mansfield (after being on the national staff of the Epworth League in 
Nashville), charged in the Advocate (June 15) that "Bishop Hendrix, who 
though a Southern bishop is a Northern man in all his sympathies, has 
led us to the brink of complete surrender." As evidenced by a plethora 
of articles taking up from one to five pages an issue in the Advocate from 
July, 1916 to May, 1917, various Louisiana members of the M. E. Church, 
South were alarmed at the direction of the negotiations. The chief con- 
cern was obviously the place of blacks in the proposed union. Editor Meek 
summed up this feeling in the January 11, 1917, edition of the Advocate: 
"The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, would not consent to be sub- 
ject to legislation enacted by a General Conference in which the votes 
of the representatives of the Negro membership of the Northern Church 
might be, and probably would be, a controlling power." Steel wrote two 
months later: "There will be no union." 

At least one voice in the Louisiana M. E., South Conference struck 
a different note. P. O. Lowrey, pastor at Donaldsonville, was invited by 
the M. E. pastor there to accompany him and M. E. Bishop Wilbur P. 
Thirkield on a tour of M. E. activity in the area. After Lowrey had seen 
the Methodist Episcopal ministry among the blacks, he wrote a report 
to the Advocate (June 7, 1917) in which he referred with a note of criticism 
to the "strenuous effort that is being made by some of our Southern con- 
stituents to hinder the union of the two Episcopal Methodisms... because 
of the relation of the Negro congregations to the M. E. Church." He went 
on to report that all the M. E. pastors he saw in action "bore the marks 
of genuine piety and of fidelity equal to the pastors of any race of 
Methodists." Editor Meek charged in the same issue that Lowrey's posi- 
tion was "an impressive illustration of how purblind one may become 
when seized with the strange infatuation for church union." 

The Louisiana Conference, M. E. Church South, adopted a resolu- 
tion in its 1918 session, presented by S. H. Werlein, cautiously favoring 
union on the basis of M. E., South proposals and disapproving "either 
unqualified opposition... or undue haste in consummating plans that may 
not be well matured." 8 But consummation was over two decades away. 

'The Yanks Are Coming— Over There" 

The participation of the United States in World War I was disruptive 
of Methodist Church life in Louisiana, although most Methodists 
approved the nation's decision to enter the conflict. When on February 
3, 1917, Germany sank a U. S. ship without warning, President Woodrow 
Wilson announced the severance of diplomatic relations with Germany. 
Robert Meek of the Advocate editorialized in the issue of February 8 that 

146 Becoming One People 

he "did not doubt that [the President] will have the support of an over- 
whelming majority of the American people/' but he predicted that the 
situation might very well draw America into war with Germany. "We 
earnestly pray that our beloved country may not find it necessary to draw 
the sword." Soon, however, Methodist churches, ministers, and members 
were involved. The Gulf Conference, for example, reported that ministers 
G. B. Hines and Charles V. LaFontaine were engaged "in war work." 
After fighting ceased, that conference declared: "the World War summons 
the Church to unusual devotion and activity in preparation for the days 
of reconstruction following the coming of peace, in order to make the 
world safe for democracy that democracy can be safe for the world." 9 

The Louisiana Conference of the M. E. Church, South adopted a ring- 
ing declaration supporting the President in the war effort, calling it "a 
war for civil and religious liberty," adding, "We believe that this war has 
been caused by the neglect of spiritual matters. . . . We pledge our prayers, 
our moral support, our influence, our substance, and our sons to this 
great cause." 10 

The reference to "sons" was not an idle figure of speech. For a list 
of sons of members of the conference in "the service of their country" 
contained twenty-eight names. S. H. Werlein had three sons listed 
(Ewing, Philip P., and Pressley), and three other ministers each had two 
listed (F. B. Hill, R. P. Howell, and J. W. Lee). Rev. and Mrs. H. O. White 
lost a son, Howard, who died in France of pneumonia. The conference 
created a war work emergency fund of $3,000, using it to provide religious 
activities in several of the camps in the state. Several ministers served 
as chaplains in the U. S. Army. 

The Methodist Protestants found the war to be a handicap for some 
of their activities. Enoch M. Mouser, president of the conference, reported 
in the 1918 Journal that the greatest handicap of the year was that so many 
young men were called to army service that they had no one left to lead 
their youth work. 

The Smaller Conferences in Louisiana 

The smaller conferences (Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Protestant, 
and United Brethren) suffered not only from the hardships of the war 
but also from various problems resulting at least partly from their small 

United Brethren, Louisiana Conference 

The Church of the United Brethren had only four or five preachers 
in the early years of this era and less than a dozen churches. At Jennings, 
the church had 130 members; at Glenmora, eighty; at Cana Creek, nine; 

Entering a New Century 147 

at Iota, nine. Preachers in these years were E.J. Church, J. H. Patterson, 
W. R. Newton, E. L. Wells, T. H. Hoffman, and Mrs. H. C. Wilkins, 
W.C.T.U. evangelist. 

They worked strenuously at their task and made some progress. In 
1900 they made inroads into Bayou Mallett, a Catholic community which 
until that time was unreached by Protestantism. The U. B. Church held 
a tent meeting there, during which many Catholics were converted to 
Protestantism. They proceeded to organize a church of twenty members. 
W. Lomax Childress, presiding elder of the Louisiana District, noted that 
many persons were moving South "and buying land and making their 
homes in this balmy climate filled with singing birds and blooming 
flowers/' 11 He added that they must have preachers who could use the 
French language and that they must be paid $300 per year for full time 

But success did not come quickly. In 1920, Bishop Cyrus J. Kephart 
came to Jennings to hold the Louisiana Conference, but the attendance 
was so small the group decided to consider themselves an advisory body 
rather than an annual conference. There was no superintendent living 
in the district and no pastors present. Indication of the difficulties United 
Brethren faced in Louisiana during these years is found in the following 
statement from the 1911 Conference Annual: "Our records cannot reveal 
all that has been done or they would be written in heart's blood and tears 
and hunger, and men would weep as they read them." 12 

Gulf Mission Conference 

In 1904 the Gulf Mission Conference of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church became the Gulf Conference. It continued to serve the Anglo, 
Italian, and French members in Louisiana and Texas, meeting in Texas 
fourteen times, in Louisiana, nine, and in Mississippi once between 1904 
and 1926. At that time there was a New Orleans District and a Shreveport 
District; together they had 2,313 members. There was also a Texas District. 
In 1907, the conference was supporting a missionary in Puerto Rico. In 
1908 there were still some French people in the state who had never seen 
or heard a Protestant preacher. Some of these were converted from 
Catholicism to the M. E. Church, and as their conference reported, "they 
made good Christians and loyal Methodists." 13 

The work was hard and the pay small. Some preachers had to leave 
because they were not supported, and some appointments were left "to 
be supplied." One whole parish of French people, raised in the Catholic 
Church, had only one Catholic church to serve them and not a single 
Protestant church. A presiding elder testified that he hardly knew what 
it really cost to be an itinerant Methodist preacher until he was placed 
on the district. Another reported he had traveled 10,600 miles, had 
preached 258 sermons, and had seen 202 persons converted. Members 

148 Becoming One People 

of this conference were concerned about theology; they believed strongly 
in the doctrine of holiness and reaffirmed their belief at the 1910 con- 
ference. In 1912, they reported joyfully that higher criticism "that once 
swept over us has spent its force, and it's receding upon itself.../' 14 In 
1913 the conference affirmed a principle which possibly reflected some 
influence of the social gospel movement, namely, that not only individuals 
need to be regenerated, but also society. 

The same session manifested a very slight bit of progress toward 
unification. A Methodist Protestant and a Free Methodist were received 
into the conference. The M. E. Church had long emphasized that in con- 
trast to the M. E. Church, South they were not a regional church. The 
M. E. Church justified their entering the South by affirming that the whole 
world was their mission field. In 1915 in considering Methodist union, 
the conference voted their preference for keeping "Methodist Episcopal" 
in the name of the united church. 

Southern German Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church 

The Southern German Conference in this period continued to serve 
German congregations in both Texas and Louisiana. Early in 1900 the Sec- 
ond and then the Third German Churches made their appearance in New 
Orleans. Another church called Eighth Street Church grew out of the Sec- 
ond German Church; the Franklin Street Church was renamed Napoleon 
Avenue by 1918. One of the longest and most significant pastorates in 
New Orleans was at Franklin Church when Phil Deschner served there 
from 1918 to 1927. By this time the use of the German language in wor- 
ship services was giving way to the use of English. The exaggerated stories 
of German atrocities and natural anti-German sentiment during World 
War I were factors in discouraging the use of German in public meetings. 

Colored Methodist Episcopal Church 

Representatives of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church fre- 
quently attended the conference of the M. E. Church, South, often ask- 
ing for financial help for special causes, as they had been encouraged to 
do. As a matter of fact, "each C. M. E. school made sure it had an 
agent... whose task it was to 'meet the white M. E. [South] Conference'" 
and ask for financial help. In 1910 the M. E., South conferences gave over 
$15,000 for C. M. E. schools. This help, in many instances, made the dif- 
ferences between success and failure for schools. 15 

The C. M. E. Church, the M. E. Church, and the M. E. Church, South 
joined hands in 1911 in sending John Wesley Gilbert and Walter R. 

Entering a New Century 149 

Lambuth to survey possibilities for evangelizing the Belgian Congo. Lam- 
buth was the son of Louisiana-born James W. Lambuth, Methodist 
preacher and missionary. In 1914, Gilbert spoke to the Louisiana Con- 
ference and received an offering for Paine College, where he was a 

Methodist Protestants in Louisiana 

For most of this era Louisiana Methodist Protestants were strong 
devotees of the doctrine of holiness -as were many other Christians. 
Holiness leaders from several areas were visitors at annual conferences, 
and the Louisiana M. P. Conference gave approval to such colleges as 
Louisiana Holiness College, Asbury College of Kentucky, the Pentecostal 
Bible School in Nashville, Tennessee, and the Arkansas Holiness Col- 
lege. Ministers from the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene visited the 
conference for several years, and in 1910 the conference authorized a com- 
mittee to confer with that church "looking toward a union." 16 Several 
ministers from the Pentecostal Church joined the M. P. Conference in 
Louisiana during these years. The Methodist Protestants also approved 
a merger in 1913 with the United Brethren in Christ, but it never 

At this point, several national officials of the M. P. Church attended 
the Louisiana Conference session, presumably to emphasize the advan- 
tages of staying in the M. P. Church. Among them were Lyman Edwin 
Davis, president of that church's General Conference; Charles H. Beck, 
secretary-treasurer of the M. P. Church's Board of Home Missions; and 
Crates S. Johnson, representing General Conference officers. In 1920 T. 
H. Lewis, then president of the General Conference, visited the Loui- 
siana Conference. Another indication of change in these years was a more 
favorable attitude toward Westminster College in Texas, of which Loui- 
siana Methodist Protestants were quite critical earlier. The school had 
begun in 1895 in Collin County, Texas but moved in 1902 to Tehuacana. 
At that time it had a college of theology, and specialized in training young 

The editor of the denomination's national paper, The Methodist Prot- 
estant, in these years was concerned with the changing theological empha- 
ses, especially with what was called "Higher Criticism," which he believed 
"unsettles the faith of believers... [and] is the bane and curse of the church. 
The pulpit is a place for Thus saith the Lord/ and not for questionings, 
doubts, and criticisms of the sacred text." In another editorial, he charged 

150 Becoming One People 

that H. G. Mitchell, professor in the M. E. Boston University School of 
Theology, was guilty of heretical teachings about the Bible. 17 

The same paper rejoiced in its issue of June 13, 1900 that the M. E. 
General Conference on May 2 had finally adopted a constitutional change 
calling for lay representation in its conferences equal to that of ministerial 
representatives. This seemed to vindicate the arguments Methodist Prot- 
estants had made decades before for more democratic representation. "We 
are glad that they have the courage to follow an example, even if they 
are some seventy years behind us," the paper commented. 

Louisiana Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church 

Having endured the vicissitudes and uncertainties of launching what 
was taken to be a northern church in a distinctly southern environment, 
the M. E. conference each year sang a hymn, the last stanza of which read: 

Preserved by God's full grace, 
Through one more Conference year, 
His hand has led us all the way, 
And thus we here appear. 

The hymn's author was J. F. Marshall, a member of the conference. 
At the meeting of the conference in 1900, he defended himself against 
the rumor that he was a "color liner" -that he opposed or favored a per- 
son on the basis of race or color. This was a national issue in the M. E. 
Church, since the denomination had gradually adopted a policy of allow- 
ing separate annual conferences for black and white members. 

At this conference the death of J. P. Newman was noted, and in his 
memoir his Louisiana brethren praised him and his colleagues for com- 
ing to Louisiana and helping to start an M. E. paper, the New Orleans 
Advocate, to found New Orleans University, and to strengthen M. E. 
churches and causes between 1864 and 1869. 

The conference continued to support the schools for blacks which they 
had started. Reports of progress were heard from New Orleans Univer- 
sity, Gilbert Industrial College, Hartzell Academy (at Donaldsonville), and 
Hamilton Academy (at Baton Rouge). Further reports will be provided 

The conference minutes contain a number of generous resolutions 
of thanks made to numerous persons and groups. At the 1901 conference, 
there were at least twenty-four such resolutions to thank the press; 
railroads; retiring presiding elders; several educational institutions; A. 
E. P. Albert, former editor of their paper; Isaiah B. Scott, current editor; 
and various other individuals. They praised one of their pastors, Alex- 
ander Conerly, who was killed in a 1901 riot while holding a camp meeting 
in his parish at Ball Town; his daughter was also killed then. 

Entering a New Century 151 

In 1907 Matthew S. Davage emerged as an effective, trusted lay leader, 
serving in the conference for many years. At this time, he was represent- 
ing the subscription office of the Southwestern Advocate. At the age of 
twenty-nine, in 1908, he was elected to head the list of lay delegates to 
the General Conference. His minister father, Samuel Davage, was retired 
by then. Davage led the singing at the 1915 Louisiana Conference and 
was referred to in the minutes as the conference chorister. By 1918 Davage 
was president of Samuel Huston College (now Huston-Tillotson). He 
served for many years away from New Orleans but maintained his local 
membership in one or another of the churches there, which always sent 
him as a delegate to annual conference. The conference in turn sent him 
as a delegate to eleven General Conferences, plus the 1939 Uniting 

Personal and social behavior was of concern to the conference. Across 
the years several ministers of the conferences were dropped from member- 
ship because of unworthy actions— immorality, mishandling of funds, and 
other unchristian conduct. Social evils were also important to the con- 
ference, because of their effect on persons. At the 1918 session the report 
on the state of the church dealt with child labor and welfare, proper family 
relations, rural and city activities, temperance, and reform. And in 1916 
the conference adopted a motion of sympathy for the persecuted Jews 
of Germany, and authorized an offering on "Jewish Relief Day/' 

Louisiana Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, South 

The Louisiana Conference of the M. E. Church, South had regained 
its momentum by this period, after being debilitated by the Civil War and 
hindered during Reconstruction. In 1877 it reported 13,900 members; in 
1900 it had 27,060. The M. E. Church had increased in the same period 
from 9,207 to 12,533 members. Members in Louisiana were the first in 
the M. E. Church, South to report reaching their quota in the 1919 
"Centenary Movement/' which was a campaign to raise a great fund for 
missions— which was overpaid. 18 

More Education For Ministers 

We have already noted the difficulties which members of the con- 
ference went through because of changes at Centenary and Vanderbilt. 
In spite of these setbacks (and possibly because of them) the conference 
continued to emphasize the importance of study for its ministers. In 1904, 
it held a preachers' institute during conference sessions, with John J. Tigert 
as the principal lecturer. He was book editor for the church and was 
elected bishop two years later. For several years, similar institutes were 
held. By 1907, comparable opportunities were offered at Seashore 

152 Becoming One People 

Assembly on the Gulf, a joint venture with Methodists in Alabama and 
Mississippi. These sessions continued for a number of years and brought 
notable scholars and speakers there for the annual "divinity school/' as 
it was called. They included Shailer Mathews, Henry Cope, Ozora S. 
Davis, Henry Nelson Snyder, and Bishops E. E. Hoss, Warren A. Candler, 
and William A. Quayle (called 'The Skylark of Methodism" because of 
his poetic, picturesque style of preaching). The 1914 General Conference 
urged young ministers to secure a college degree before entering the 

Seashore was also used by the Epworth leaguers of Louisiana for their 
summer assemblies, at which they had such leaders as Jesse L. Cuning- 
gim, Henry Beach Carre, H. M. DuBose, Seth Ward, Fitzgerald S. Parker, 
Franklin N. Parker, John W. Shackford, Mrs. F. P. Gaffney, Mrs. A. F. 
Watkins, and Mrs. J. E. McCulloh. 

Continuing Holiness Emphases 

These educational opportunities likely were provided by the M. E. 
Church, South to counteract the divisive effects of the holiness emphasis 
in some of the smaller conferences. The Gulf Mission Conference about 
this time, for example, had a strong emphasis on holiness, and several 
ministers left the M. E. Church, South in Texas and joined that conference. 
The Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church recom- 
mended holiness colleges to their members and had holiness advocates 
speaking at their annual sessions. For a number of years their annual con- 
ference journal carried a doctrinal statement affirming their belief in 
holiness as a second definite work of grace. 

The extremes of interpretation and the methods of its advocates had 
caused the bishops of the M. E. Church, South in 1894 to deplore the 
claim of some to "a monopoly of the experience, practice, and advocacy 
of holiness" and the tendency of some to "separate themselves from the 
body of ministers and disciples." This pronouncement by the bishops 
tended to head off and reign in excesses in the M. E. Church, South. In 
Louisiana in April and May, 1905, the Advocate carried a few letters regard- 
ing this issue, but none was signed with a real name. One writer referred 
to "the fanaticism of the modern holiness movement," attributing it to 
"church disrupters or come-outers, and ignorant, self -constituted, inde- 
pendent male and female plebeians who... are preaching so-called sanc- 

A rather serious disruption of Methodist membership came about at 
Mineral Springs, near Pleasant Hill in DeSoto Parish. Holiness camp 
meetings started there in the summer of 1903, and soon some Methodist 
families were attracted to them. Among the preachers who were invited 
to the holiness camp meetings was L. L. Pickett, formerly a minister in 
the North Texas Conference, M. E. Church, South. He had left the 

Entering a New Century 153 

holiness fellowship because of pressure resulting from his refusal to 
immerse; he believed strongly that sprinkling was the proper mode. In 
his early ministry (1915), Arthur J. Moore preached there, 19 but he was 
not known as a believer in the current holiness emphases— only as a 
warm-hearted evangelistic Methodist preacher. 

We do not know that the holiness issue caused W. H. Benton to 
withdraw from the Louisiana Conference in 1911, but he explained, "I 
no longer feel that I am in hearty accord with the government and doc- 
trine of the Methodist Church/' 20 A writer in the Advocate in the period 
of April-May, 1905, probably was accurate in his evaluation by saying 
that "throughout the greater portion of the church [in Louisiana] the sub- 
ject of holiness is carefully avoided." A third correspondent, signed 
"Gilderoy," wrote: "It strikes me that most of this trouble comes because 
good men are not agreed as to the meaning of terms.... They appear to 
be far apart when, in fact, they are not.... It matters little whether we 
all use the same form of words or not— just so we all expect to be made 
perfect in love in this life, and are earnestly groaning after it." 

Special Ministries Begun 

One special ministry begun in this period was the establishment of 
an orphanage. By 1906 a temporary home had been built at Bunkie in 
the Alexandria District under the guidance of agent C. C. Wier. He had 
raised $550 in cash and had $5,500 pledged. Plans were announced to 
make Ruston the permanent location. The new building there was suffi- 
ciently finished by mid-1909 to house the thirty-seven orphan children. 
The site consisted of forty acres which were soon producing vegetables, 
fruits, and melons used to help feed the children. By 1915, the orphanage 
was canning large quantities of fruits and vegetables, which helped very 
much in feeding the 110 children there. They also developed their own 
dairy herd. Sunday schools in the conference sent in over $4,000 in cash. 
In 1923 J. S. Rolfe of Oak Ridge helped arrange for the railroads to pick 
up box cars filled with produce donated by farmers and to deliver it to 
the orphanage without charge. Trains would even stop at stations and 
at some crossroads, where donations could be loaded onto the train. The 
orphanage received much corn, hay, potatoes, and other produce in this 
way. This practice continued for many years. 21 When the conference met 
in Ruston in 1919, members visited the orphanage and found it caring 
for 154 children, enjoying its best year, and planning to expand the 

Another concern that elicited the attention of the conference were 
prisons and prisoners in the state. H. B. Carre proposed in 1907 that a 
committee represent the conference in this concern. The conference 
agreed, and John A. Rice presented the committee's first report in 1908. 
The report showed that in various parish jails there were eighty-six 

154 Becoming One People 

indigent insane persons; sixty-seven boys under twenty-one years 
awaiting trial; 1,023 men over twenty-one awaiting trial; and 115 women 
awaiting trial. The state penitentiary had as inmates about 1,800 men, 
sixty women, and twenty-five boys. The report also showed that in all 
of the jails, conditions were very bad and that religious services were rare. 
The committee recommended that pastors visit prisoners and hold ser- 
vices wherever practicable and succeeded in inaugurating an ongoing pro- 
gram which continued for many years. In 1917 the committee urged efforts 
for crime prevention and control of the sale of handguns. By 1921, they 
reported that prisoners were well fed, reasonably well clothed, provided 
with good reading matter, and humanely treated. 

Efforts at Improvement in Church Functioning 

In the early days of this period, the conference compared salaries of 
M. E., South pastors in Louisiana with those in other conferences. 
Presiding elders urged that the Louisiana average of $667 annually be 
improved. They discovered that this average ranked ninth among the 
thirty-nine conferences (not counting those overseas). The highest was 
$764, in Virginia; the lowest was $445, in West Virginia. 22 

In 1906, members of the conference thought there were too many 
transfers of ministers into Louisiana, thus tending to block the advance- 
ment of the younger men already there. True enough, a good many com- 
petent preachers were transferred into Louisiana in these years: Theodore 
Copeland, John A. Rice, H. M. Whaling, Charles C. Selecman, W. W. 
Armstrong, George S. Sexton, S. A. Steel, D. B. Boddie, and W. L. Duren 
were among them. The conference petitioned the bishops to consider 
restricting the number of preachers allowed to transfer into the conference. 

Giving women leadership roles in the church was a matter which 
seemed to have only a few supporters. The Conference Journal in 1903 car- 
ried a report on allegations against Wilson Moore, pastor at Zwolle, 
Shreveport District. He was accused of committing "an error in official 
administration in his having allowed a woman to preach in his pulpit. 
On motion, his character was passed on condition of confession and 
amendment/' 23 Within a few years, however, the situation changed. The 
conference session in 1912 authorized a committee of seven to study the 
place of women in the church. A year later S. H. Werlein, chairman of 
the committee, presented a report recommending that "the rights and 
privileges of lay membership in the church be granted equally to men 
and women." 24 

Significantly, this report was signed by seventy-two persons before 
being presented to the conference, and all but two of the signatories were 
ministers. The two laymen were S. H. Porter and A. P. Holt. The Loui- 
siana Conference accepted the proposal and became one of only six out 
of forty-six conferences in the M. E. Church, South that took this stand. 25 

Entering a New Century 155 

The appointive system was sometimes criticized— and it was not, of 
course, universally successful in matching pastor and church ideally. But 
probably the Advocate stated the matter correctly in its January 10, 1906, 
comments on recent conference appointments: 

Many changes were made in the appointments [involving] some of 
the leading men, who had occupied charges only one year. A few 
brethren were greatly disappointed. . . . These removals are incident 
to our itinerant system and though they sometimes come unexpec- 
tedly, as a rule they are accepted heroically, and the preachers go 
in the spirit of the Master, and to the work assigned to them. 

One pastor, at least, was greatly dissatisfied at the four-year 
denominational limit on pastorates at the same church. Richard Wilkin- 
son, who in 1902-05 served Rayne Church in New Orleans but went in 
1906 to the North Georgia Conference, announced in 1916 his plan to 
join the Episcopal Church because of this regulation. Editorials in the 
Advocate defended this rule, but in 1917 the conference voted to ask the 
General Conference to drop it. 

Some Methodists in Louisiana thought bishops had too much power 
and the laymen and the preachers too little by comparison. Greater lay 
power, they thought, would tend to offset episcopal strength and bring 
more balance. An incident at the 1916 conference demonstrated a will- 
ingness to challenge bishops. S. H. Werlein presented a resolution favor- 
ing the uniting of American Methodism. It was signed by eighty-one out 
of 154 members of the conference. "When the bishop [E. E. Hoss] was 
asked to give his views, and did so, Werlein objected to a presiding offi- 
cer's exerting influence on the action of the body. To which Bishop Hoss 
replied that it was Werlein who had tried to control actions of the Con- 
ference by bringing in a paper signed by a majority of the members/ 726 

Later in the same session, the members agreed by a close vote to 
approve the plan of union, which the General Conference had submit- 
ted to the annual conferences. This 1916 Louisiana Conference also opted 
to give laymen a greater place by favoring the making of conference and 
district lay leaders ex-officio members of the annual conference. 27 

Bishop Nolan B. Harmon, Jr., commented on Bishop J. C. Keener's 
inclinations concerning episcopal authority. "He was naturally of an impe- 
rious disposition, and as the episcopacy in the Southern Church was then 
at the height of its powers and almost above challenge by the ministers 
of the Church, Keener became one who typified the arbitrary attitude that 
often marked the bishops of his day." 28 

This trend toward greater lay involvement continued in the 1917 con- 
ference. That conference approved proposals to recommend (1) dropping 
the rule calling for pastors to serve a maximum of four-years in a given 
appointment, (2) election of all local church officers by a church conference 
rather than a quarterly conference (thus giving more members a vote in 

156 Becoming One People 

selecting local officers); (3) granting pastors the right to use suitable 
laymen in assisting with the sacrament of Holy Communion; (4) authoriz- 
ing district lay leaders to sit with presiding elders and the bishop in mak- 
ing appointments; (5) allowing pastors to elect their own presiding elders; 
and (6) granting laywomen in the church rights and privileges equal to 
laymen. This last action was proposed by S. H. Werlein, P.O. Lowrey, 
and A.I. Townsley. This program of reform put the Louisiana conference 
among the more forward-looking conferences of the church. Not all these 
proposals were adopted speedily by the General Conference, and some 
never have been. 

The Movement for Revision 

All of these developments giving greater place to lay men and women 
in the church finally led to what was called in the M. E. Church, South 
the movement for revision, and Louisiana was involved. It would even- 
tually succeed in changing the structure of the church in favor of a greater 
lay voice in the operations of the church— at the local level and also at 
the annual conference and General Conference levels. 

The first two decades of the century brought anxiety and agitation 
for members of the M. E. Church, South. Bishop Edwin D. Mouzon called 
it a "time of unrest and threatened revolution in our church." Editor Robert 
A. Meek of the Advocate wrote to Bishop Candler in 1917: "The more I 
see of the situation at the top in Southern Methodism the more I am 
depressed as to the future of our church. Unless we can overturn the pres- 
ent ruling element, I fear that we shall never have an era of loyalty and 
peace." A. M. Mayo of Lake Charles was a member of the movement; 
he was a lay delegate to the Louisiana Conference, M. E. Church, South 
for several years. 29 Gradually the church moved to accept lay represen- 
tation in all its structures. The Louisiana Conference was a bit slow and 
reluctant, however, to approve these changes. In 1917 it adopted a pro- 
posal to make conference and district lay leaders members of the annual 
conference— but the vote carried only by a majority of three. 

Ferment in Theology 

The twentieth century brought with it changes in scientific thought 
and theological beliefs, and these affected the churches. In 1907 P. O. 
Lowrey lodged a complaint against T. J. Warlick for teaching a doctrine 
of sanctification contrary to the doctrinal standards of the church. In 1909 
A. G. Shankle, pastor at Ruston, was charged with "not believing the 
Bible to be canonical and believing in evolution." A trial was held. He 
was exonerated and "continued in good standing." 30 But the major strug- 
gles over theology were still to come, in the next two decades. Never- 
theless, in 1906, a committee of the conference referred to this era as "a 

Entering a New Century 157 

period of much religious uncertainty and many theological vagaries." 31 
Also, toward the close of this era Arthur M. Shaw, a member of the M. 
E., South Conference, wrote: "The unreasonable waste of time which 
Christians have indulged in fighting the conclusions of science -false or 
true. If God is the Author both of Creation and Revelation, they are not 
in conflict with each other." 32 

Some Christians who testified to perfect love in their lives did not 
argue about it but showed it by their lives. John T. James, minister of 
the Gulf Conference, was such a person. His memoir in the Journal con- 
tained this testimony: "A man so unique, a mind so stored and poised, 
a piety so simple and sublimated is not common in this world.... We do 
not recall to mind a spirit so filled and surcharged with God's Word.... 
To him prayer was not only a privilege but a coveted resort and delight." 33 

Theology at Work 

Much of the theology of the church is reflected in its institutions, 
through which beliefs are translated into action. The M. E. Church had 
a head start in this connection in Louisiana, because its members had 
a cause they strongly believed in and received almost unlimited financial 
backing from their national leadership. Their many efforts to alleviate 
poverty and other ill effects of slavery have already been mentioned. 

New Orleans University 

The outstanding black institution of the M. E. Church was New 
Orleans University (later Dillard University). 34 In 1901 L. G. Adkinson 
was closing his long term as president (1887-1901), during which the 
academic departments were strengthened and enrollment increased from 
228 in 1887 to 663 in 1891. On his staff were recent graduates, such as, 
Alexander P. Camphor, (later a bishop), Walter Scott Chinn, from a well- 
known Methodist family in New Orleans, and Matthew S. Davage, des- 
tined to be the elder statesman of black Methodists. Frederick H. Knight, 
president from 1901 to 1907, moved the school ahead significantly in 
scholastic attainment. John Wier followed Knight and served the next four 

In his fourteen years as president, Charles Manly Melden converted 
the school from primarily a grammar school and secondarily a college to 
the reverse. When he arrived in 1911, there were eighteen college 
enrollees; when he left, there were one hundred fifty-six. His administra- 
tion was also credited with the first systematic effort to improve and 
beautify the grounds and buildings. This included renovation of several 
buildings and addition of city water, sanitary facilities, a central heating 
plant, and electric lights. President Melden was also a historian and a 


Becoming One People 

M. E. Journal, 1886 

Main Building, New Orleans University, LA. 

scholar. He wrote From Slave to Citizen , which was widely used as a text in black 

In 1889 Flint Medical College was organized as a department of New 
Orleans University. It was started with a generous gift of John D. Flint 
of Fall River, Massachusetts. By 1911 the medical school was so expen- 
sive to operate that the M. E. Church had to choose which of two to sup- 
port. It chose to concentrate its resources on the other medical school for 
black students, namely, Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee; 
and the New Orleans school discontinued medical education. The Sarah 
Goodridge Hospital, established as part of the medical school, became 
known as Flint-Goodridge Hospital and Nurse Training Center. These 
institutions served mainly black patients, for whom there was usually 
inadequate health care in the South. Also, a religion department had been 
added, but after a few years was discontinued in favor of Gammon 
Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia. 

The Peck School of Domestic Science and Art was attached to New 
Orleans College and put under the supervision of the Woman's Home 
Missionary Society of the M. E. Church. In 1912, it was housed in a new 
building, which accommodated about fifty girls who lived there and 
attended classes in cooking and sewing. 

Entering a New Century 159 

Centenary and Mansfield Colleges 

Centenary College was not booming as it entered the twentieth cen- 
tury. It had only 135 students in 1901, smaller than the year before. Some 
persons believed the location hindered its growth, and we have seen the 
furor that changed its location and closed it for a time. It had a very limited 
endowment, and in 1901 the conference Journal referred to "anxiety about 
the full payment of every professor's salary/' Yet the conference main- 
tained that in order to "preserve all that is characteristic, noble, and 
praiseworthy in our own Louisiana Methodism, we must do our own 
educating." 35 

Centenary opened at its new location in Shreveport in the fall of 1908 
with four professors and a total enrollment of sixty-nine freshmen and 
sophomores, which was certainly encouraging. In 1913 R. H. Wynn— 
the new president of the "school," which, he said, could not yet be called 
a college— declared that increasing the college's endowment was a most 
urgent matter. The citizens of Shreveport who were giving annually to 
help support the college were doing so "with a measure of reluctance 
because of their disappointment in the progress of the enterprise." Presi- 
dent Wynn wanted to change that situation and succeeded in stabilizing 
the college by "untiring labor and prodigious sacrifices [by members of 
his] administration." 36 

The next year Centenary's annual report to the conference again con- 
tained an urgent call for additional funds, with the assurance that the 
situation was "not hopeless." In 1914, it was reported that C. W. Blair 
of Shreveport offered to give the college $2,500 if the Methodists of Loui- 
siana would raise $12,500. Records do not confirm the success of that 
effort. Blair did, however, give $1,000 the next year as a special gift. Also, 
citizens of Shreveport agreed to renew their annual giving (called a tax, 
though it was voluntary), and Bishop E. E. Hoss raised $2,031 in a special 
collection during the 1911 conference. 

In 1917 the Conference Board of Education reported that a campaign 
in Shreveport had added the impressive sum of $64,000 to the endow- 
ment, and this seemed to be a turning point for Centenary. The conference 
also authorized a statewide campaign for funds. By 1919 the conference 
was told their two colleges were enjoying unprecedented patronage with 
172 students at Centenary and 203 at Mansfield Female College. Greatly 
encouraged by this success, the conference in 1920 adopted the goal of 
raising $500,000 for Centenary and $150,000 for Mansfield. 

The Louisiana Conference was also helping to staff other universities. 
Franklin N. Parker was appointed to Emory University as dean of Candler 
School of Theology, and John A. Rice was assigned as professor of Old 
Testament at Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology. 
Three members were associated with Centenary College, and one with 
Mansfield College, in 1910. By 1916 two former members, Carre and 

160 Becoming One People 

Carter, who had been teaching at Vanderbilt University, were dropped 
from conference membership, as we noted earlier. 37 

Mansfield Female College during this period also had financial 
troubles. In 1905, the problems were due to the yellow fever epidemic 
and the failure of crops. A new building was completed in that year, which 
carried a debt of almost $9,000. Subscriptions to the college were unpaid, 
and a new tax was levied on the school by the parish assessor— which 
it contested. Enrollment stood at 115 in 1906 and in 1908 climbed to 
172— but with a heavy indebtedness of $15,000, due partly to new building 
and improvements. There was discussion in that year of a correlated 
system of Methodist higher education in Louisiana -meaning Mansfield 
Female and Centenary Colleges. 

By 1909, Mansfield College's financial condition was crucial, and a 
proposed issuance of bonds was not feasible. The conference, however, 
agreed to provide $1,200 annually to the school. A year later it was 
reported that "the condition has grown steadily worse, and that unless 
help is immediately at hand, the school will have to close its doors." The 
local trustees had pledged their personal credit to carry it thus far. By 
1911, the college had a debt of over $23,000, part being a mortgage indebt- 
edness. In that year, a plan was proposed to form a joint Board of Trustees 
for the two colleges and to handle the debt of Mansfield College through 
bonding. The conference rejected the plan for a joint board. The bonding 
proposal was accepted, and it seemed at first to be ideal. By 1915, 
however, there was no adequate way to pay the bondholders; the treasury 
was empty and debts were piling up. The college was saved by the 
response of benefactors to its desperate plea for help and by the largest 
enrollment in its history. 38 

In 1917 the outlook at Mansfield had brightened, and there was even 
talk of expanding facilities. Conditions soon allowed the erection of a 
building costing $14,000, of which $9,000 was paid immediately. Enroll- 
ment reached 203 in 1918, and there was discussion of even more building. 

Thus the cycle of good years and bad years for the two colleges con- 
tinued. Many loyal pastors and lay members worked to strengthen them, 
and the colleges, in turn, strengthened Methodism by contributing to the 
education of ministers and laity of Louisiana. 

Memorial Home for Young Women 

In 1919 the Memorial Mercy Home in New Orleans was offered to 
and accepted by the Louisiana and the two Mississippi Conferences. It 
had been in existence for more than forty years, providing a temporary 
home for unwed mothers. The home had three departments: home, 
hospital, and nursery and could care for forty mothers and babies at one 
time. About 120 young women were cared for annually. The home sought 

Entering a New Century 161 

to give each child a legal name through adoption, either by the mother's 
family or some other suitable family. 

The church sought to guide the young women who came to the home 
"without the extreme on one hand of causing them to look upon their 
sin as a light thing, and upon the other to save them from the shame 
and despair which we find is characteristic of the majority of those who 
pass through the home." Memorial Mercy Home was unique among Prot- 
estant institutions in that area. 39 

Ministry To Foreign-speaking Newcomers 

Both episcopal Methodist churches continued to carry on extensive 
ministries for those who spoke French, Italian, and German languages, 
though the latter was gradually being displaced by English in public ser- 
vices. Methodist leaders did not consider the foreign language ministry 
a permanent arrangement, but until newcomers had time to learn English, 
Methodists communicated with them in their mother tongues. During 
this period Louisiana registered the highest illiteracy rate in the United 
States, at just under twenty-two per cent of its population. The high rate 
of illiteracy and the large number of people not speaking English com- 
plicated the churches' use of printed resources, ordinarily a big factor in 
their teaching efforts. 

During this period the M. E. Church in Louisiana had 4,212 German 
members in fifty-three churches and 1,574 Scandanavians in twelve 
churches. The work in New Orleans among Italian and French speaking 
people was directed by Eliza Page of Ames Church. Several cotton mills 
in the city employed young girls, most of whom could neither read nor 
write. Miss Page arranged night classes to meet this need and Sunday 
school classes to provide Christian fellowship and understanding. The 
Italian group in Ames Church grew, but the work with the French 
gradually declined. Miss Page retired in 1917 and died soon after. 

The Italian Mission secured its own building in 1920, which it called 
Neighborhood Center. This community center offered a variety of activ- 
ities, everything from kindergartens to mothers' clubs. It also had a visiting 
nurse and a staff member trained to work with boys. 

M. E. efforts to work with the French were aimed not only at 
newcomers but also at descendants of early French settlers. This was true 
of the M. E. ministry in the Evangeline country at Basile. The first 
Methodist sermon was preached there in 1911 in a sawmill. There was 
opposition, and once a shot was fired at the minister while he was 
preaching. Within a year, the undaunted minister had built a church, and 
then he began to work toward providing a school to combat the high illit- 
eracy rate. Eighty-five per cent of adults and fifty per cent of those of 
school age could neither read nor write. Methodist leaders tried to get 
a school established but met with stubborn priestly opposition. Finally, 

162 Becoming One People 

in September, 1922, Methodists succeeded in opening the first Methodist 
school for French speaking people in America. 

Methodist Episcopal publishers had provided since 1839 a general 
family paper, Der Christliche Apologete, for their German readers. In 1916 
they began producing Sunday school periodicals in various other 
languages that emigrants were still using in America. These included 
Vestra Sandabudet (Swedish); Vidnesbyrdet (Norwegian-Danish); La Fiaccola 
(Italian); Ostens Missioner (Norwegian-Danish); Japanese Methodist; 
Krestelige Falsmand (Norwegian-Danish); Hawaiian-Korean Christian 
Advocate; Aurora (Portuguese); Hyrde Stemmen (Swedish); Ang Mabuting 
Balita (Filipino); Lecciones Dominincales Explica (Spanish); Krestan (Slovak); 
and Evangeliska Tidende (Norwegian-Danish). 40 

The M. E. Church, South also ministered to foreign language groups, 
chiefly German, French, and Italian. German churches were well 
established by 1900, but since immigration had almost ceased, the use 
made of the German language decreased steadily. In 1903 William Schuhle 
was pastor at Dryades St. Church in New Orleans, which had 118 
members. By this time, J. B. A. Ahrens, the great leader of Germans in 
the M. E. Church, South, had retired. He died in 1906 and left a great 
heritage in his scholarship, in his devotion to Christ and the church, and 
in his writings and publications. 41 

The M. E. Church, South carried on a great ministry among the 
French— chiefly through the leadership of Martin Hebert. He joined the 
conference in 1900 and for more than two decades was in charge of the 
French Mission, which covered the lower half of the state. He was ideally 
equipped to give leadership in the French Mission District and did so for 
many years as pastor and presiding elder. 

The French work that Hebert undertook had many difficulties. One 
example was reported by J. J. Morgan, Methodist preacher in Texas, who 
was the American Bible Society agent for the Southwest: "Our colporteur 
for South Louisiana, amongst the French Catholics, found two bright 
women hungry for a Bible in their own language. They asked permis- 
sion of the priest to buy it, but he not only refused, but wrote a threaten- 
ing letter to the colporteur, ordering him out of the parish. However, the 
women bought the Book." 42 

Hebert "spoke splendid French and understood these people, [and] 
he was able to live among them easily. To be accepted by isolated, largely 
farm people, demanded a bit of graciousness, adaptability, acceptance, 
and delight," writes his daughter, lone Carlin. "His parish covered 
roughly the lower half of Louisiana in the early days. The Southern Pacific 
Railroad gave him an annual pass, but he used horse, horse and buggy, 
bicycle, shank's mare [walking]; finally, a Chevrolet.... He preached for 
thirty years to bring the free air of Protestant thinking and privilege to 
isolated French people. Already the Catholic Church was beginning to 
lose the best minds of those people." For a while, he published a French 

Entering a New Century 163 

language Advocate. He helped bright and promising young Frenchmen 
get an education, and some of these he guided into the Methodist 
ministry. 43 

One of the greatest factors in developing the French Mission was the 
MacDonell School at Houma, maintained by Methodist women at large. 
Among the workers at that time were Eliza lies, Ella K. Hooper, Lois Ham- 
mett, and Laura M. White. Among the pastors were G. A. Morgan, Frank 
J. McCoy, and A. J. Martin. 

Early in this period, a ministry to Italians in New Orleans was begun. 
N. E. Joyner was appointed to St. Mark's Hall, which was at first planned 
to evangelize the large Italian population but later became a "church of 
many nations/' Joyner spent three years organizing the work on 
Esplanade Avenue. In 1914 G. V. Romano began a pastorate there lasting 
several years. Joyner wrote that the Italians had three handicaps as they 
reached New Orleans: (1) the bad reputation of Italian criminals in Italy 
led Americans to classify all Italians as unworthy; (2) Americans were 
woefully ignorant of the language, customs, and manners of other ethnic 
groups; and (3) the Italians were clannish. On the other hand, Joyner 
found these Italian emigrants had an appreciation for free institutions, 
they were industrious, and they were quick to learn the English 
language. 44 

St. Mark's and Mary Werlein Mission served chiefly Italians in this 
era. St. Mark's was begun in 1910 with the help of the head deaconess, 
Margaret Ragland. It functioned through clubs, night schools, and much 
house-to-house visitation. Miss Ragland had a Bible study class comprised 
of Italian women. In 1910-11, St. Mark's reached 15,000 individuals. 45 

The Mary Werlein Mission was located in what was called the ugliest, 
driest part of New Orleans and was the base of operations for a woman 
known as the "Angel of the Irish Channel." She was Mrs. Lillie Meekins, 
who was in charge of the mission. One account said, "She has felt the 
heartbeat of its people, kept her finger on the pulse of its condition, and 
doled out soup while there was soup to dole, particularly in the days of 
hard times when the factories shut down and gaunt want stalked the 
dusky streets." 46 

The mission held religious services and provided pastoral care for the 
"down-and-outer" and the drunkard who would reform. It also dispensed 
charity of many kinds. Lodging, work, playground facilities, sewing 
classes, and cooking lessons were provided for those who needed or 
wanted them. An annual picnic brought out about 200 adults and children, 
and selected children and adults were sent to summer camp at Seashore 
Camp Grounds. 

164 Becoming One People 

Women in Mission 

Women of the Louisiana Conference, M. E. Church, South have been 
strong supporters of all the activities of their church— and of their local 
congregations— as we have seen. Local units of the Woman's Missionary 
Society, home and foreign, were the early groups through which they 
channeled most of their service -plus teaching in the Sunday school. We 
have already noted that they were not yet considered by "the powers 
that be" to be acceptable as ministers. Some men questioned even whether 
women should give vigorous leadership in Sunday schools and mis- 
sionary societies. For example, an article in the M. E. Church, South's 
Quarterly Review for July, 1881, carried this word of emphasis: "So in Sun- 
day schools and Bible classes and Missionary Societies, great caution is 
needed— more, perhaps, than is always shown— in utilizing the gifts and 
graces of pious, zealous, and intelligent women. Nothing can compen- 
sate for the sacrifice of feminine modesty: this must be guarded, though 
the heavens fall." 

But Louisiana Methodist women did join the missionary societies and 
did prove zealous therein. In 1903 there were 404 local congregations in 
the M. E., South conference and only eighty-two societies (thirty-four 
foreign mission and forty-eight home mission) with a combined member- 
ship of 1,728 women out of over 32,000 members, half of whom were 
assuredly women. Even with this relatively small membership, they raised 
$2,168 for foreign missions and $4,625 for home missions. The potential 
for growth presented a challenge to society members. By 1920 these 
eighty-two woman's societies had increased to 142, according to the Con- 
ference Journal, and membership had moved up from 1,728 women to 

Statistics cannot in themselves tell the whole story. These societies 
grew not only in numbers but also in service. In this period the home 
mission groups emphasized (1) personal Christian activities, such as 
visiting the sick, visiting corrective institutions, holding cottage prayer 
meetings, distributing clothing to the needy; (2) helping to support a city 
missionary in New Orleans and in Shreveport; and, (3) encouraging the 
furnishing of local church parsonages. In 1905 with help from woman's 
societies, Roberta Baker of Louisiana was studying at Scarritt Bible and 
Training School in Kansas City, preparing for Deaconess work. In addi- 
tion, Helen Johnston of Opelousas and Ada Parker of New Orleans were 
both serving as missionaries in Brazil. Soon the societies were helping 
in other projects, such as a kindergarten in China and a project in Korea. 
By 1913 they were supporting seven Bible women and two missionaries. 
In 1918 they added Pauline Randle as a missionary to Korea. 47 

These may not seem to be remarkable achievements unless we 
remember the age in which they occurred. Few women had more than 
a few dollars to spend as they pleased; few of them worked outside their 

Entering a New Century 165 

homes. They usually had little more than the proverbial "widow's mite. 
They rarely had ways to get to local meetings, except by walking. "Yet 
they revitalized churches, initiated and supported local causes, and par- 
ticipated in worldwide outreach. 

A similar story could be told of women in the M. E., the M. P., and 
the U. B. churches. Northern white women in the M. E. Church deserve 
much praise for their sacrificial labor in coming to the South after the Civil 
War to teach in schools and carry on social work among recently freed 

Methodist women, from both the M. E. and M. E. Church, South, 
have for many years been recognized as leaders in social reform and prog- 
ress. Many of their attitudes were learned in the woman's societies, where 
the gospel of Christ has been taken seriously. Methodist women in the 
South, for example, have been leaders in interracial activities. For guidance 
in this endeavor, they looked to the work and example of Will W. Alex- 
ander, a Methodist minister of Belmont Methodist Church, Nashville, 
before he headed the Interracial Commission in Atlanta. He also served 
as acting president of Dillard University in New Orleans until William 
Stuart Nelson was elected as the first president. 

Sometimes Methodist women in Louisiana had to assume leadership 
on social issues without support from their pastors. To be sure, sometimes 
they got that support, and sometimes the pastor even provided the 
needed leadership. Such was the case in this era with M. E., South pastor, 
P. O. Lowrey. We have already noted his contacts with M. E. Bishop 
Thirkield and his friendliness toward M. E. pastors. He wrote in the 
Advocate for February 8, 1917: "We rejoice that our spiritual brotherhood 
has become so nearly Christian that the airing of these [racial] prejudices 
and race animosities brings a feeling of shame to those who must hear 
such unbrotherly utterances.... There is certainly no place for such 
uncurbed prejudice in the Church of God." 

Sunday School for All Ages 

Sunday schools were also increasing in numbers and effectiveness. 
In 1900 there were about 260 Sunday schools in some 370 congregations 
in the M. E., South with around 13,000 pupils. By 1920 these had increased 
to about 320 Sunday schools with 33,000 pupils. 

In 1905 the M. E., South conference planned four Sunday school insti- 
tutes, one each at New Orleans, Lafayette, Mansfield, and Ruston. Dr. 
and Mrs. H. M. Hamill from Nashville were the leaders. By 1907 there 
was emphasis on establishing organized Bible classes. As usual, 
Methodists were cooperating in interdenominational activities, such as 
the Louisiana Sunday School Association. The conference even provided 
Sunday school literature for use in the state prison. 

166 Becoming One People 

By 1910 P.O. Lowrey was serving as full-time conference Sunday 
school missionary. That same year, Centenary College began a summer 
training school for Sunday school workers. Lowrey traveled over 15,000 
miles in his first year, made 143 addresses, and organized thirteen new 
Sunday schools. By 1912 the "closely graded" courses were more generally 
used than heretofore in the conference. The work was interrupted when 
Lowrey was not continued as field secretary because of decreased revenue. 
By 1915, the conference was able to resume that work in the person of 
W. H. Coleman. After four months, however, he returned to the 
pastorate, and C. V. Breithaupt was appointed to succeed him as field 
secretary. Nellie Richardson was added to look after children's work in 
that year, and Alonzo Early served as field secretary for the next several 

During this era, distinct advances were made in Sunday school work 
in the M. E., South, due partly to church wide guidance and resources 
and partly to efforts and personnel. Probably the M. E., South was bet- 
ter staffed to make such advances than were other Methodist groups in 

Youth Training and Mission 

By 1900, Epworth Leagues were established in many Methodist 
churches in Louisiana in both branches of episcopal Methodism. The M. 
P. Christian Endeavor also was doing well. In the M. E., South, S. A. 
Steel was on the national Epworth League staff in Nashville (1894-98); 
he gave added impetus to the league in Louisiana when he served as 
pastor there from 1916 to 1920. Fitzgerald S. Parker of the M. E. Church, 
South gave encouragement to the leaguers in the Louisiana Conference 
while he was general secretary of the league board in Nashville. The 
number of leagues in the M. E., South in Louisiana increased from 
seventy-five in 1904 to 152 in 1921, when there were over 4,300 members. 
These leaguers became strong supporters of the home and foreign mission 
enterprise, and by 1920 they were raising over $2,000 annually. Many 
volunteers for full-time Christian service as ministers and missionaries 
came through the league's influence. In the M. E. Church, 144 leagues 
had over 3,300 members early in this era, but they decreased to 2,700 
by 1920. 

The Epworth League soon had its own periodical; in the M. E. Church 
it was entitled The Epworth Herald and in the M. E., South, The Epworth 
Era, which changed to Epworth Highroad in 1931. In its first issue The 
Epworth Herald carried the following lines to guide its young readers in 

Entering a New Century 167 

The Live Young Methodist 
Is not a bigot. 
Stands by his pastor. 
Speaks out in meeting. 
Lives on the sunny side. 
Speaks only kind words. 
Is a student of the Word. 
Is loyal to his own church. 

Wilbur P. Thirkield was general secretary of the league in the M. E. 
Church before he became the resident bishop in New Orleans. Soon the 
leaguers had annual conference meetings, and M. E., South leagues held 
theirs at Mansfield Female College. There were also national conferences 
where youth from both the M. E. Church and the M. E. Church, South 

The Local Church 

But what else was happening in the local churches, where most of 
the Methodists in Louisiana had their contact with the denomination? 
Let us take a quick-journey around the state and look in on some of the 

These are glimpses only and do not attempt to give a complete pic- 
ture of the ministry of the church. They often catch only one incident 
of one aspect of the "happenings" at that church. Some are inspiring, 
some are funny, some are regrettable, but altogether they give a 
kaleidoscopic view of Louisiana Methodism. 

Help From Community Businesses 

Many stories in this era indicate that businesses and non-Methodists 
helped to start and/or build Methodist churches. In 1908 Hugh Jamison, 
Centenary student, began a small mission, using the office building of 
the Queensborough Land Company in Shreveport as a Sunday meeting 
place. Later he erected a tent to house his activities, and eventually local 
lumber companies donated materials with which a church, Mangum 
Memorial, was built. 

One Methodist Church had a Presbyterian as president of its women's 
group. Catholics too at times assisted with aspects of Methodist activities. 
Support for churches in this era came from various community groups 
and agencies, such as businesses, corporations, workers, river boatmen, 
railroads, fraternal groups, military personnel. Persons in almost all walks 
of life helped churches get started and keep going. 

168 Becoming One People 

Ecumenical Trends 

Methodists in the M. E. Church, South did not believe they could 
Christianize Louisiana by themselves. Therefore, P. O. Lowrey in 1907 
proposed at the meeting of the Louisiana Conference of his denomina- 
tion an interdenominational organization of ministers and laymen in the 
state. No immediate action, however, was taken. 

Steps in that direction, nevertheless, were taken here and there in 
the state. In 1900, the M. P. and the M. E. members met together in 
Grayson, Louisiana. Later that year, the M. P. congregation there erected 
a building in which four denominations held their services separately. 
The Methodist Protestants, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, the 
Free Methodists, and the Missionary Baptists used the building one Sun- 
day each month, and on fifth Sundays they met together for a combined 

Whafs In a Name? 

Many Methodist churches in Louisiana have changed their names 
across the years, some of them several times. One of the most frequently 
changed names was of the present First Church of Lake Providence. 
Earlier it was named, in succession, Pecan Grove Church, Meat Market 
Church, Main Street Church, and Methodist Church at Davis and First. 
Fairview Church near Jennings later changed its name to Raymond. 

The Bishop As Appointment Maker 

In earlier years bishops had much more authority in making appoint- 
ments to local churches than they have now. A century ago bishops had 
sole power to name the pastors; now they share the authority and respon- 
sibility with the pastors and representatives of local churches. 

Nearly a century ago, one of the churches in New Orleans thought 
the minister assigned to them was not the one they needed at that time. 
A delegation from the church went to the bishop twice about getting a 
change of pastors. The bishop refused, and after the second visit from 
the delegation, he became indignant and said to them: "Gentlemen, you 
are presuming to usurp the prerogatives of the episcopacy. I have made 
the appointment and it stands." But the next conference they did get a 
change -through another bishop who was assigned to supervise the 
conference. 48 

Damage or Destruction of Church Buildings 

Many churches have been damaged or destroyed in Louisiana across 
the years. Perhaps the greatest number of these were hit by hurricanes 

Entering a New Century 169 

or rainstorms. The church at Effie had a tree fall and damage one of its 
earliest buildings. Another church was destroyed when, after some cot- 
tonseed had been put in part of the building, a drunk making his bed 
there set the seed on fire while trying to light his pipe. Another was 
destroyed by a tornado! Trinity Church in Ruston burned in 1903, and 
the razed frame building was replaced by a fine brick structure. 

A great storm struck New Orleans in 1915 and damaged several 
Methodist churches. It destroyed Algiers Church; the loss was reported 
at $3,000. Felicity Church suffered a $5,000 loss; First Church suffered 
damage of $2,150; Rayne Memorial was damaged to the extent of $20^000. 
Others damaged in lesser amounts included Louisiana Avenue, Parker 
Memorial, Second Church; and outside New Orleans damage was 
reported from churches at Plaquemine and at Orange Grove. Union 
Church on the Farmerville Charge was damaged in 1916 by a tornado, 
and the Mangham parsonage was destroyed by fire. The Henning 
Memorial Church of Sulphur was destroyed by hurricane in 1918. Dur- 
ing these years the total loss of property was about $50,000. 

Vignettes of Some Local Churches 49 
A Man Who Owned A Church -Rayne 

In 1915 Rayne Memorial Church in New Orleans was damaged in 
a severe storm and required repairs costing a prohibitive $20,000. But it 
was too fine a building to be allowed to go unrepaired. Businessman 
Robert W. Rayne of New Orleans, who had earlier been a pastor in the 
Methodist Protestant denomination, had built this sanctuary for his local 
church in 1875-76. It was then named St. Charles Church and was formed 
by bringing together the Cadiz Street Church and some members from 
Felicity and Carondolet churches. Rayne was a staunch Christian as well 
as a successful businessman. He had come to New Orleans in 1842, and 
when he learned that Cadiz Church was to be the core of a new, larger 
church, he— on his own— in 1875 built a new church for the enlarged con- 
gregation. At his death in 1879 the family transferred ownership to the 
trustees of the church. At that time the church changed its name to Rayne 
Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 

In the next generation, Rayne Memorial would inaugurate the annual 
Jones-Cadwallader Lectures. As we look back on them now, we see they 
have been given by some of the outstanding preachers and scholars of 
the world, such as John Knox, Paul Hutchinson, Albert C. Outler, Leslie 
D. Weatherhead, Roy L. Smith, and Bishops Ivan Lee Holt, William R. 
Cannon, Gerald Kennedy, Paul E. Martin, Finis A. Crutchfield, Kenneth 
W. Copeland, Robert E. Goodrich, Jr., Aubrey G. Walton, and J. Kenneth 

170 Becoming One People 

Shamblin. They began in 1949 with Norman Vincent Peale. They are the 
gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles N. Cadwallader in memory of her first hus- 
band, C. I. Jones. 

DeQuincy Church 

The M. E. Church was established at DeQuincy in 1908 by the Gulf 
Mission Conference. The first building was big, crude, unfinished, and 
barnlike. That church began with eighty-seven full members, twenty- 
seven probationary members, and 183 members of the Sunday school. 
The pastor's salary then was $320. The hurricane of 1918 destroyed the 
church and parsonage, and the location was changed upon rebuilding. 

In an old record book of the DeQuincy Church are found notations 
of why names were removed from the church roll. Some are amusing 
and some are sad: 

Dropped by request 

Departed to the life beyond 

Died in the faith 

Gone to Apostolics 

Married into Baptists 

Shot to death 

Removed without letter 

Removed by order of Board 

Baptized and received into church on day of death 

Mother Church for Louisiana Blacks: Wesley 

Blacks were among the first Methodists in Louisiana. By 1838 Wesley 
Church was a strong center for black Methodists and has made a great 
contribution across the years. Wesley Church has been the scene of many 
episcopal receptions for newly elected black bishops. The first such recep- 
tion was in 1904 with Isaiah B. Scott, who had been editor of the 
Southwestern Christian Advocate in New Orleans before his election as a 
missionary bishop. Then came the 1916 election of Alexander P. Camphor 
(native of Louisiana) to a similar office and his reception at Wesley Church. 
In 1921 receptions were held for Robert Elijah Jones and Matthew W. Clair, 
both of whom were elected to serve as bishops in the United States. 

German Churches: New Orleans 

In the early years New Orleans was one of the chief centers of Ger- 
man Methodism. Most of their ministers who began preaching in this 
era were born in Germany. This period, however, brought a new genera- 
tion, and native born German pastors became available. Methodists of 
German background were found in both episcopal Methodisms. 

Entering a New Century 171 

Many of these German churches reached their peak of service before 
World War I. Although members were still using their own language 
(though not for long), they were assimilated into American culture enough 
to be accepted as good citizens. Numerous young German men served 
in the United States Army in World War I. These German Methodist 
churches had Epworth leagues, business men's Bible classes, and ladies 
aid societies. By 1909 the Napoleon Avenue German Church in New 
Orleans had the largest enrollment (813) of any Sunday school in Ger- 
man Methodism. 

First Church, Lake Charles 

About the turn of the century, pastor B. F. White reported that he 
had electric lights placed in the parsonage at a personal cost of $10.50, 
which he donated to the church. Attention was called in his report to 
the fact that the parsonage floor was settling and the bath tub was in bad 
condition. One member agreed to look into the bath tub problem, and 
the pastor was authorized to call a tinner to repair it if necessary. Another 
member was requested to see that the parsonage floor was repaired. 

Zachary Church 

Many churches in this era had Sunday school superintendents who 
served in that position for many years. For example, William B. Town- 
send began as superintendent at Zachary Church in 1890 and served into 
the new century. But his successor, J. H. Rhodes, served for nearly fifty 
years, retiring in 1955. John L. Kennedy, Sr., also served that church and 
was its financial secretary for thirty years. 

First Church, Shreveport 

The church building erected in 1889 was expected to serve the needs 
of the congregation for generations, but the membership expanded so 
rapidly that by 1912 it was obvious a larger church building was needed. 
A new cornerstone was laid in April, 1913, and the building was com- 
pleted in September of that year. In 1914 a new pipe organ was installed, 
a gift of the Woman's Missionary Society and Mr. and Mrs. A. W. Baird. 
It cost $7,500 and had three manuals and 1,427 pipes. Most amazing, 
however, was the great increase in membership: from about 400 in 1900 
to 1,054 in 1914, to 1,552 in 1920, and 5,769 in 1984. 

George S. Sexton was responsible for much of this growth at First 
Church, for he was the pastor from 1913 to 1920, except for 1917 and 1918, 
in which years he served as commissioner for the church in Washington, 
D. C. which represented the denomination. That church is now known 
as Mt. Vernon Place Church. 

172 Becoming One People 

In 1920 Sexton was able to lead First Church in paying off the $80,000 
debt on its new building that was finished in 1913. The Sunday school 
was expanding; the Baird Class had a membership of 300, and the Four 
Square Bible Class had an outstanding record of growth. The Sunday 
school orchestra had fourteen pieces: a piano, four violins, four cornets, 
a trombone, a flute, a clarinet, a tuba, and drums. From 1921 to 1930 Sex- 
ton was president of Centenary College, but continued to be affiliated 
with the church. 50 

First Church, Alexandria 

In the early years of this century, the Alexandria Church had an active 
chapter of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. This group 
developed a blue law Sunday enforcement program, including the Sun- 
day closing of every form of business that had an admission price, for 
example, ball games, theaters, picture shows, and pleasure resorts. The 
church adopted this rule, and the pastor, S. H. Werlein, was asked to 
publicize it. 

In 1915 during an evangelistic series at the church, a crowd of over 
1,500 people attended one Sunday evening. As they were leaving the 
church the floor of the vestibule gave way, and about fifty people fell 
to the basement -along with pieces of tile, concrete, broken sills, and furn- 
ishings. Some were painfully hurt, but, fortunately, none was critically 

Ethel Church 

This church has had a variety of fellowship fund raising events in 
its history. They have included quiltings, gumbo suppers, ice cream 
socials, cemetery workings, pig roasts, singing conventions, dinners~on- 
the-ground, basket suppers, box suppers, Sunday school picnics, local 
talent shows, and singing schools. 

One of the members, Kenneth McKay, was quite proficient at rais- 
ing funds for the church. When subscriptions were being raised for one 
project, a man had pledged twenty-five dollars. McKay, knowing the man 
would not like to be topped in his giving, pledged fifty dollars. This started 
a friendly competition which ended with each of these men pledging a 
sizable sum as each tried to out pledge the other. 

The story is told that one Sunday morning as McKay passed the col- 
lection plate, he noticed William Forbes put only a fifty-cent piece into 
the plate. Leaning over, and speaking softly, but quite audibly, McKay 
said to him, "What's the matter, William, your cows not giving much milk 

Entering a New Century 173 

On another occasion, the pastor called on McKay (for the first time) 
to lead in prayer. McKay responded hesitatingly to this request by say- 
ing, 'That's what we pay you for." 

DeRidder Churches 

This church was organized in 1901 and first met in the Odd Fellows 
Hall and later in the Masonic Hall. It provided at least eight ministers 
for the church and sponsored a second church in DeRidder, named 
Wesley. Wesley Church has served many families of military personnel 
from nearby Fort Polk. 

Gilliam Church 

When ready to erect a church building, the congregation at Gilliam 
proposed that it be a union church. "It can be a union church, with 
members from different denominations," insisted Mr. Gardner, who was 
a Methodist. Since a majority of those present were Methodists, however, 
they built a Methodist church. 

In 1908, every house in Gilliam was blown away in a severe storm - 
and the church was also. Methodists and members of various other 
churches in Gilliam often worked alongside those who hauled lumber, 
nailed boards, and painted. Again in 1918 the Methodist church building 
and many others were demolished in another storm. 

Grace Church, New Orleans 

Grace M. E. Church evolved out of Union Chapel and Pleasant Plain 
churches. Early in this century Grace Church was in a changing and 
declining neighborhood. One Sunday, in about 1914, the members of 
Union Chapel were gathering with their children for Sunday school but 
were stopped by a police officer who told them that children were not 
allowed in the district where the church was located because it was a "red 
light district." This location presented a serious problem, for the member- 
ship was already declining. 

A conference was held between Bishop Thirkield and the pastors of 
Union Chapel and nearby Pleasant Plains Church to discuss alternative 
locations, and a union of the churches was agreed upon. At first they 
were able to meet in a school building, but later a discarded "horse stable" 
was obtained to rent. They began to meet there and to console each other 
with the thought, "Since there was no place for us in the Inn, we went 
to the stable." 

About this time (1915), the Pleasant Plains church building was 
demolished by a storm, and once again the two congregations were fac- 
ing a crisis. They decided to secure another building, and Bishop Thirkield 

174 Becoming One People 

used his Procter and Gamble stock (as he had frequently done) to 
guarantee the loan of $13,500 to purchase the property. The congrega- 
tion, feeling that the "Grace of God" had saved them, decided to give 
the congregation the name Grace Church. 

Port Barre Church 

About 1912 Martin Hebert began a routine of travelling by buggy and 
slow train to the Port Barre area once a month for preaching services. 
He arrived on Saturday night, and usually someone met him at the train 
and took him home to supper. After supper everyone gathered for a 
preaching service in a tent. After a service on Sunday morning, Hebert 
returned to his home. Persons in his audience were Protestants, but not 
yet church members. Soon there were enough interested families to 
organize a Sunday school. After the old tent had worn out, the congrega- 
tion met in what was known as "The Old John LeBlanc Saloon." 

Services became more frequent than once a month, and finally in May, 
1913, a Methodist Church was organized. On May 30 the first persons 
baptized were the two infants of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Robertson. Others 
joined from time to time, and by 1916 there were thirty-four members. 
In 1918, Hebert was made presiding elder, and J. D. Harper, father of 
R. H. Harper, became pastor. 

Then they bought a desirable, well located lot with an old building 
that could not be used. The old structure was razed and a new one was 
finished in the summer, 1919, and that summer seven adolescent girls 
joined the church. This brought the membership by 1920 to forty-one. 

First Church, Lake Charles, and "Our Institutions" 

In 1911, the history of First M. E. Church, South in Lake Charles listed 
and commented on "our Methodist institutions." Among these were "our 
orphanage" at Ruston; Centenary College, for "our boys"; Mansfield 
Female College for "our girls"; the Nashville Christian Advocate "ought to 
be in every Methodist home"; the New Orleans Christian Advocate, "a special 
organ of our church in Mississippi and Louisiana... indispensable;" and 
The Missionary Voice, "the combined organ of all our Missionary interests." 

The same history reported that in 1909 the church led in influencing 
the parish of Calcasieu to vote "dry." 

La Harpe Church, New Orleans 

The La Harpe Church had Walter Scott Chinn as its first pastor, and 
in its early days the church was called by his name. The first frame 
building burned in 1904 and was reconstructed. Soon the congregation 
made plans and saved money for a brick building. They demolished the 

Entering a New Century 175 

old structure in 1921 and worked on the new one for several years. In 
the interim they used a partially finished building. In the face of delays 
and discouragement over the ordeal of construction, the members 
remained loyal to the church. 

First Church, West Monroe 

The West Monroe Church began services in 1905 and at conference 
time reported ninety-two members. By 1920 there were 239 members, 
two church buildings worth $41,800, and a parsonage valued at $7,000. 
The church raised for all purposes that year $18,000. Men, women,. and 
children pitched in and helped work on the building and grounds. The 
Wesley an Service Guild did the janitorial work for many months and 
saved the church enough money to buy a piano. 

First Church, Natchitoches 

This church began in 1841 when John Burke began preaching every 
Sunday in the courthouse there. By 1900, they had a church building and 
a new parsonage. Their membership was less than seventy, smallest in 
the Alexandria District. But by 1920, it had climbed to 251. As early as 
1909, they needed a larger church, partly because they were near the Loui- 
siana State Normal School and all students were required to attend 
church. They built a new church costing $8,000, and in 1919 bought addi- 
tional property and erected an educational building. By 1920, they built 
a parsonage in a new location. The church had nearly 300 members in 
the Sunday school, second in their district to First Church in Alexandria. 
There were sixty members in the Woman's Society, again second only 
to Alexandria, which had 100. 

A New Methodist Protestant Congregation: Mt. Nebo 

The M. P. Church at Mt. Nebo was establish at the beginning of the 
century by W. W. Lantrip. He was a prominent minister in that denomina- 
tion and had been president of the Louisiana Conference of his church. 
He later joined the M. E. Church, South, and his grandson, James Lan- 
trip, became a leader in that church in Kentucky and Tennessee. 

Pelican Church 

The Pelican Church, as well as many others, was generous in the 
annual offering to the Louisiana Methodist Orphanage at Ruston. With 
twenty-five to thirty members present at Sunday school ordinarily, their 
regular offering was only a few dollars in this era. Yet the Sunday school 
gave the orphanage $42.71 in 1911. The Pelican Church also had a 

176 Becoming One People 

deaconess to go out from its membership to serve the church at large. 
She was Verna Webster, later Mrs. Milam Willis. 

Centenary Church at Rayne 

The Centenary Church at Rayne began somewhat before 1900 and 
by 1918 had about 250 members. It had begun with three Protestant 
families, the Cunninghams, the Johnstons, and the Dunshies, who 
originally got together and held services in the Cunninghams' dining 
room. On week days the same room served as a school for the children 
of the three families. 

Haven Church, New Orleans 

Haven Church organized in 1883 and met in a building purchased 
from the Carrollton German congregation for $1,000. By 1900 they had 
built a new church building and a parsonage. In 1909, the church was 
remodeled during the pastorate of Pierre Landry. 

Some members of the church in 1911 wanted to transfer their con- 
nection to another denomination -the African Methodist Episcopal 
Church. This caused a split in the congregation, with some leaving and 
joining St. Paul A. M. E. Church. As a special service program during 
part of this period, the Haven Church conducted a school for small 

Trinity Church, New Orleans 

Trinity was first called Jefferson Church and was organized soon after 
the Civil War ended. By 1871 it had been renamed Simpson Chapel. About 
a generation later, Simpson's frame building was burned by persons who 
resented the church's attack on unsavory characters in the neighborhood, 
and in 1909 it was replaced by a $40,000 structure. It was one of the most 
spacious and beautiful churches in New Orleans. In 1908, the Louisiana 
Conference of the M. E. Church met in Simpson Chapel. The debt on 
the new building eventually became too heavy for the congregation, and 
the church was put on auction. Only the pastor's skillful maneuvering 
saved it. Walter Scott Chinn bought it in the auction for the Simpson con- 
gregation, but the name had to be changed to make the transaction legal. 
Then in 1920 a $3,200 debt was incurred for a parsonage, and it took nine- 
teen years for this to be cleared. It served as the church for New Orleans 
University until it closed in 1935. 

Entering a New Century 177 

Urania Church 

In 1906, tabernacle revivals were held in Urania, Louisiana by two 
Methodist Protestant women ministers -Mrs. M. E. Bartlett and Mrs. 
Mary E. Perdue. They preached to large crowds under a big tent. This 
was the prelude to regular worship services which they held in a building 
belonging to the Woodmen of the World. Soon a union church was 
organized and served by the Rev. Mrs. Perdue and a Baptist minister. 
They later held separate services, and at that time an M. P. Church was 

The town of Urania was unincorporated and was owned and super- 
vised by the Urania Lumber Company. Owners of the company encour- 
aged the church's activities and gave some financial assistance, which 
made a church building possible in 1927. The company also paid part of 
Mrs. Perdue's salary for many years. 

Winnsboro Church 

In early years, the ringing of the Winnsboro Methodist Church's bell 
served two purposes: (1) to call the members to Sunday school and church 
services, and (2) to alert the citizens that a fire or other emergency needed 
their help. There were no full-time fire fighters; volunteers did the job. 
Several potentially dangerous fires in the town were extinguished because 
the Methodist Church bell summoned the volunteers. 

Noel Memorial Church, Shreveport 

In 1906 R. J. Harp was appointed to Shreveport City Mission, which 
eventually became Noel Memorial Church. He was seventy years old. 
In 1908 J. G. Snelling was appointed to the church, which by then had 
been renamed Creswell. A year later he reported 150 members under the 
name of Noel Memorial Church. There was neither church building nor 
parsonage, but the church had raised $6,041 for their operations that year. 

James S. Noel had promised to give a church building, to be named 
Noel Memorial as a memorial to his son, J. S. Noel, Jr. He proposed a 
building costing about $60,000. The cornerstone was laid the last day of 
1911. By the end of 1912, the building was almost complete. In order to 
insure that the church would always stand as a memorial to his son, Noel 
insisted that the quarterly conference not be allowed to incur any debt 
on the building. The Discipline of the Methodist Church, however, 
required a trust clause be a part of the deed, stating that any church 
building "shall be used, kept, maintained, and disposed of... subject to 
the discipline, usage... of said Church." Noel felt this arrangement failed 
to give him the assurance he wanted and refused to accept the proposal. 
The issue became deadlocked, with neither side feeling it could yield. 

178 Becoming One People 

The matter was referred to the presiding elder and, later, to the Council 
of Bishops, but still no solution was found. At one point, Noel threat- 
ened to turn the building over to the Baptists. 

Meanwhile, members of the church divided into factions for and 
against various facets of the proposals. The current pastor, Walter W. 
Armstrong, suffered a nervous breakdown. Then the Board of Stewards 
voted to vacate the building, and services were held under a tent for a 
time and later in the city hall. The controversy became more intense when 
it broke into the public press. In the winter of 1913, the bishop appointed 
another pastor and presiding elder, since the strain of affairs was wear- 
ing on the incumbents. 

Both sides became weary of the dispute, and both were willing to 
compromise. Finally on September 24, 1914, Noel offered a compromise 
proposal. He offered to lease the building to the church for ninety-nine 
years, at the end of which time the property would belong to the church, 
and church officials agreed. The differences were soon resolved. The years 
of turmoil were over, and the church grew in numbers and "in favor with 
God and man/' 

Some Outstanding Leaders— Lay and Ministerial 

Short-term Leaders in Louisiana 

A number of prominent Methodists in this era were members of the 
Louisiana Conference during part of their careers. Among these were the 

Charles C. Selecman in 1911 became superintendent of City Missions 
in New Orleans but stayed there only one year. During his career he 
served as pastor of First Church in Dallas and president of Southern 
Methodist University. He was elected bishop in 1938. 

John A. Rice served as pastor of Rayne Memorial Church in New 
Orleans and several other leading churches in the denomination. While 
he was a professor at Perkins School of Theology, S. M. U., his liberal 
interpretation of the Bible brought him much criticism from some quarters, 
and eventually led to his leaving the university. Albea Godbold, a prom- 
inent Methodist minister, historian, and later trustee at S. M. U. (and 
a student at the university when Rice was there) wrote, 'There could be 
no doubt about his honesty and integrity, and his devotion to the truth 
and the church/' 51 In the Louisiana Conference, Rice gave leadership to 
the work in prison ministry. 

Horace M. Whaling was pastor of First Church, Shreveport, in 1909 
and 1910. Later he served as pastor in Texas, professor and vice presi- 
dent of Southern Methodist University, and editor of the Southwestern 
Christian Advocate in Dallas. 

Entering a New Century 179 

Mrs. L. G. Adkinson was included in Notable American Women for her 
work in the M. E. Church as temperance reformer and for her efforts to 
improve the lot of black people in Louisiana. She was the wife of the presi- 
dent of New Orleans University and channeled some of her work in behalf 
of blacks through that institution. She was state president of the Woman's 
Christian Temperance Union among blacks in Louisiana. 52 

John Brewer was a "Yankee" who came South to Hammond in 1895 
and stayed nine years. He was an active Methodist layman throughout 
his life. In his diary he tells what Bible selections he read daily before 
retiring, and summarized his pastor's sermons. When they moved to Loui- 
siana by train, they considered it peculiar that the passenger coaches 
became segregated at the Ohio River, and that depots had signs over the 
doors, "Colored People's Waiting Room" and "White People's Waiting 
Room." 53 

Natives Who Served Chiefly in Louisiana 

A most important and also very difficult part of Methodist activity 
in Louisiana was its mission to French speaking people. Little was accom- 
plished until Martin Hebert threw himself into the task. He was "a 
preacher who himself was a part of the culture and had a genius for 
recruiting and training leadership." Hebert's effectiveness continued for 
more than two decades, and he became the superintendent of the French 
Mission District, which had eight hundred members. 54 

Captain J. N. Pharr came to Louisiana as a youth in 1850 and even- 
tually became a successful sugar planter. He opposed the Civil War on 
principle but participated in defending his homeland. After the war he 
engaged in steamboating, and made the bulk of a large fortune in carry- 
ing the U. S. Mail and passengers on the Teche River. Later he engaged 
in sugar production, owning ten plantations and producing ten million 
pounds of sugar annually. Nevertheless, among his chief concerns were 
his church activities. He promoted Sunday school institutes widely and 
was a staunch supporter of temperance. S. S. Keener summarized his 
qualities as "hatred of sham and cant... utter reliability, the staunchest 
devotion to duty... unbending adherence to principle, entire 
truthfulness... faithfulness to friends... accompanied with large generos- 
ity...." 55 

Alban M. Martin was one of the most loyal and effective preachers 
among the French membership. He could speak French and English 
fluently but could not read. Martin Hebert gave him a French Bible and 
a French dictionary. With these tools he learned to read. Hebert con- 
sidered him the brightest, finest spirited, most eloquent preacher in the 
French mission work. He had a large vocabulary and perfect usage of 
well chosen English words. 56 

180 Becoming One People 

Mr. and Mrs. A. M. Mayo were loyal and effective leaders in Loui- 
siana. He was treasurer of and lay delegate to the conference for a long 
time and trustee of Mansfield Female College. Bishop Walter R. Lambuth 
was a guest in their home in 1911, when he spoke in Lake Charles. The 
Bishop wrote later, "I enjoyed every hour and every minute, if they did 
keep me speaking a good deal of the time. What a fine breakfast... real 
Southern home eating." 57 

Philip H. Dieffenwierth was a long-time devoted member of the con- 
ference, and later local preacher /farmer. Born in France in 1811, he lived 
almost to this century. It was said that he wore a stovepipe hat and a 
Prince Albert coat and rode a mouse-colored mule. The people of Wesley 
Chapel must have liked him, for he was appointed there at least six dif- 
ferent times. Even his mule was well-liked. Elizabeth Guthrie had her 
husband, Martin, plant pumpkin seed for the mule. It was his favorite 
food, and they even stored them in the hay in the winter so they would 
not freeze. The animal could then enjoy this delicacy the year round. 

C. W. Blair in 1917 gave to the Louisiana Conference the sum of 
$50,000 to help pay pensions to retired preachers of the conference. It 
was handled by the General Board of Finance, but proceeds came to the 

Persons Who Served Primarily in Louisiana 

George S. Sexton spent twenty years of his forty-eight years in the 
ministry in Louisiana. Ten earlier years were spent as pastor in Arkan- 
sas, thirteen in Texas, and five were devoted to church extension and 
in working for the establishment of an M. E., South church in 
Washington, D. C. In Louisiana he was pastor of First Church, Shreveport 
for five years and president of Centenary College for eleven. His final 
four active years were as presiding elder of the Shreveport District. He 
was effective in all of these assignments. 

A warm tribute to Sexton was given in 1917 by his successor as pastor 
of Shreveport's First Church, H. F. Brooks: 

We are delighted with Shreveport. It is no easy matter to follow 
George Sexton. Everybody knows him; everybody loves him, Jew 
and Gentile, big and little.... When old Sex gets to the gate and St. 
Peter learns his name, he will say, "It is no use to look up his record. 
If we don't let him in here, and he wants to get in, he will find some 
way," and the pearly gate will swing wide, and he won't be here five 
minutes till there will be a crowd around him. He turned over to me 
a great church. We are starting off with fine prospects. 58 

William Talbot Handy, Sr., after studying at Gammon Theological 
Seminary, served the church chiefly in New Orleans but also had 
pastorates in California and Texas. In New Orleans, he was pastor at 

Entering a New Century 181 

People's Church, Mt. Zion, First Street, Trinity, and Brooks. Between two 
of these pastorates he also served as district superintendent. As both 
pastor and district superintendent he had to deal with the usual and the 
unusual problems. These often involved church debts and occasionally 
church officials who did not know -or did not respect -Methodist regula- 
tions. After he retired, he became executive of the Gulf side Assembly 
in Waveland, Mississippi, which had been severely damaged by storm 
and neglect. He directed its restoration and refurbishing. After he retired 
from Gulfside, he was called back to help two churches at or near New 
Orleans. Finally, he and his wife were able to rest periodically at "Handy 
Heights," the old home place in Mississippi where he was born. Robert 
F. Harrington put it well when he wrote: "Dr. Handy represents the finest 
in the tradition of the poor farm boy, born in the hinterlands of a deeply 
rural state in a region where being black was not the most hopeful thing 
that could happen to a youngster but who, despite all this, maintained 
a solid belief that there was something better for him out there ahead." 59 

Born in Virginia, Marcus C. Manly joined the Arkansas Conference 
(M. E. Church, South) about 1847 but transferred to the Louisiana Con- 
ference about midpoint in his career. Very early in his ministry, he lost 
his eyesight. Though he was blind, with the assistance of his faithful wife, 
he became familiar with the standard theological literature of the 
Methodist Church. He committed the entire New Testament to memory 
and a large part of the Old Testament and thus was able to continue his 

Robert Elijah Jones, after several pastorates, was appointed manag- 
ing editor of The Southwestern Advocate in New Orleans in 1897. In 1901, 
he became Sunday school worker among black Methodists in Louisiana 
and Mississippi. His task was to hold institutes for Sunday school 
workers, to establish new Sunday schools, and to take collections to sup- 
port his work. He entered enthusiastically into the work, and it flourished. 

Thus it is not surprising that in 1904 when the Southwestern Christian 
Advocate needed an editor, they turned to Jones. He not only edited the 
paper but engaged in helping local groups carry on their work. Soon he 
invited George W. Cable, who was working for better treatment of blacks, 
to address the "Colored Y.M.C.A." in New Orleans, and he agreed. Albert 
J. Nast, who was forced out of editorship of Der Christliche Apologete dur- 
ing the anti-German hysteria of World War I, wrote him, commending 
his "manly utterances... intelligence... and eloquence." He received invita- 
tions to give commencement addresses at such places as Tuskegee Insti- 
tute in 1913 and Wesleyan University in 1918. In 1920 he was elected as 
full-fledged bishop, not as a missionary bishop, who could serve only 
in mission fields. 

Jones, who could pass for white, tells how, at a fair, he was waiting 
back while a crowd of blacks pushed ahead to get on the Ferris wheel. 
Thinking him white, an attendant whispered to him, "Take the next car, 

182 Becoming One People 

Sir; don't crowd in with these Niggers !" "Humph/' Jones responded, "I'm 
a nigger myself!" 60 

We have already noted that S. H. Werlein was a leader in the Loui- 
siana Conference. Son of a German emigrant who came to New Orleans 
in the mid-1830s, Werlein was a forward-looking leader. We have noted 
that he favored equal laity rights for women and in 1913 headed the com- 
mittee that recommended laity rights to the General Conference. He was 
also active in other resolutions to the General Conference relating to the 
progress of the church. He joined in approving the establishment of a 
representative M. E., South church in Washington, D.C. and in support- 
ing the unification of American Methodism. In addition to service in some 
of the strongest churches in Louisiana, he also served large churches in 
St. Louis, Fort Worth, Austin, and Little Rock. 

Natives Who Served Chiefly Outside Louisiana 

Fitzgerald S. Parker, son of Bishop Linus Parker, joined the Louisiana 
Conference, M. E. Church, South in 1886 and served in that conference 
until 1903 (except for one year each in Texas and California), when he 
joined the Ep worth League staff in Nashville for seventeen years. He was 
secretary, however, of the Louisiana Conference from 1900 to 1920. 

Franklin N. Parker was another of Bishop Parker's sons. He joined 
the Louisiana Conference at the same time as his brother. He held 
pastorates there until 1911, when he joined the faculty of the newly- 
established Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Atlanta, 
Georgia. He became Dean of the school in 1919, serving until 1938. He 
was elected bishop in 1918 but refused the election, explaining that he 
felt unqualified to fill the office. 

Matthew S. Davage was beginning in this era his long and illustrious 
career as an educational statesman for Methodism. After graduating from 
New Orleans University in 1900, he taught there for five years. For the 
next ten years he was business manager of the Southwestern Christian 
Advocate and also served as president of the Colored Home and Industrial 
School in New Orleans. In 1915, he was elected president of George R. 
Smith College in Sedalia, Missouri, but after a year, he was asked to be 
president at Haven Institute in Meridian, Mississippi. Again, after one 
year there, he was called to accept the presidency of Samuel Huston Col- 
lege in Austin, Texas. After three years in Austin, he was again called 
to another institution— Rust College at Holly Springs, Mississippi. "This 
move was an advancement... in his brilliant educational career in the 
making." 61 

During this period there emerged a black Methodist woman who 
became a millionaire as a result of her business ability. She was Sarah 
Breedlove Walker, better known as Madame C.J. Walker. Born near Delta 
in northeast Louisiana, she belonged to the African Methodist Episcopal 

Entering a New Century 183 

Zion Church. She hit upon a formula for a preparation to improve the 
appearance of the hair of black women. After it became popular, she 
organized a company and established manufacturing plants for the 
pomade and some sixteen other products. She used her wealth to assist 
causes such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored 
People, the YMCA, scholarships at Tuskegee Institute, and homes for 
the aged. She also endowed a girls academy in West Africa with 
$100,000. 62 

Hubert D. Knickerbocker was a product of Methodism in New 
Orleans, where he was born. His parents were active Methodists, and 
he inherited a love for the church from them. After a few years in the 
Louisiana Conference, he became one of those who transferred frequently. 
Starting with 1892 these were his appointments: Santa Barbara, Califor- 
nia; assistant pastor, Travis Park, San Antonio; Prospect Hill and West 
End, San Antonio; Yoakum; Weatherford; Temple; Trinity, Dallas; First 
Church, Fort Worth; Austin Avenue, Waco; Tempe, Arizona; First 
Church, Houston; First Church, Wichita Falls; Dallas District; First 
Church, Little Rock; Oklahoma City District; First Church, Memphis; 
McKinney District. 

Bishop Charles C. Selecman, who wrote his memoir for the 1954 North 
Texas Conference Journal, commented: 

Ordinary words do not fit an extraordinary individual. The good 
Maker wrapped three or four people in Hubert's skin. ... In his prime 
he knew the art of mixing pathos, invective, and wit with the skill 
of a master of assemblies.... He revelled in campaigns for debt pay- 
ing and raised funds for church buildings.... Early in the history of 
SMU, he raised the Knickerbocker Special of $100,000. . . . His last and 
dearest project was gathering funds for retired preachers. 

Alice Dunbar Nelson was born in 1875 in New Orleans into a middle 
class black family. One of her published poems so impressed Paul 
Lawrence Dunbar that he began corresponding with her, and eventually, 
they were married. Separating from Dunbar in 1902, she taught school 
and edited two anthologies for students of black oratory, one titled Master- 
pieces of Negro Eloquence. In 1920 she was named the first black woman 
to serve on the Delaware Republican State Committee. In 1916, she mar- 
ried Robert John Nelson and continued as a columnist and contributor 
to publications. For a time she was associate editor of the A. M. E. Church 
Review. She also served as executive secretary of the American Interracial 
Peace Committee of the Friends Service Committee. 63 

Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Stockwell of Lake Charles volunteered to serve 
on the mission field and in 1911 were accepted for service at Wembo- 
Nyama. When Bishop Walter R. Lambuth (whose father was born in Loui- 
siana) returned to Africa late in 1913, he took with him the Stockwells 
and other missionaries. The Louisiana Conference Board of Missions 

184 Becoming One People 

reported in 1913 that "Our own conference has a peculiar and sacred inter- 
est in this venture of the faith of the church from the fact that two of our 
own consecrated young people at Lake Charles, Mr. and Mrs. J. A. 
Stockwell, are members of the pioneer force in this new field." 64 

Alexander Priestly Camphor was born in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana 
in 1865 and was raised by Stephen Priestly. He taught at New Orleans 
University before 1900. After serving several pastorates, he went to Liberia 
as a missionary in 1908. He was elected missionary bishop in 1916 and 
returned to Liberia to supervise Methodist work there. He died in 1919 
and was buried in New Orleans. 


The era of 1900 to 1920 thus saw Methodists in Louisiana making prog- 
ress in their Christian lives. Part of this progress was in their deeper 
understanding of the scope and meaning of their faith. This deeper 
understanding was, in turn, due to greater opportunities for clergy and 
laity to probe these meanings. Pastors were going in increasing numbers 
to theological seminaries, and the laity had many opportunities in local 
church, district and conference meetings to explore their faith. The M. 
E. Church, South had in this era established two new seminaries, one 
at Emory University in Atlanta and the other at Southern Methodist 
University in Dallas, Texas. Also in Atlanta, the M. E. Church had Gam- 
mon Theological Seminary, a fine school for black ministerial students. 

Each of these seminaries had special ties with Louisiana. Gammon 
was headed for much of this era by J. W. E. Bo wen, Sr., who had earlier 
been a student at New Orleans University. Candler School of Theology 
at Emory had Franklin N. Parker, one of Louisiana's own as professor 
and later dean. Hoyt M. Dobbs, whose wife was from Louisiana and who 
later served and died in the state, was the first permanent dean at 
Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology. All of these 
influences made seminary education more acceptable to ministerial 
students from Louisiana. Methodist Protestant students were guided 
toward Westminster College in Texas. 

Women were entering larger fields of service through the church. The 
Woman's Societies were furnished good training opportunities for 
developing their leadership skills. There were faint glimmers of hope that 
they could someday enter the pulpit. 

Centenary College, long on an up and down road, seemed at last to 
have crested the hill and to have before it a future of growth and wider 
contribution. Mansfield Female College was also up and down financially 
and was struggling to survive. It was still providing good education, but 
was handicapped by inadequate funds. New Orleans University was 

Entering a New Century 185 

giving black youth new opportunities to equip themselves for a larger 
role in American society. 

Church buildings were more numerous and better built with fewer 
frame buildings and more of brick and stone. In 1919 there were 374 
organized M. E., South congregations, and 351 of them owned their own 
buildings. And here and there churches were providing separate buildings 
for Sunday school purposes. These buildings were valued at nearly 
$1,790,000. There were only 127 parsonages for the 152 pastors assigned 
to serve them. However, since eighteen of the pastors assigned were sup- 
plies and since most of these presumably had their own dwellings, almost 
all of the itinerating pastors were furnished a place to live. 

In Louisiana as a whole, this was a period of increased wealth: the 
state's lumber industry reached its height early in the era but then tapered 
off; natural gas, oil, sulphur, and salt provided new resources for the state 
and provided many more jobs than heretofore. Labor problems multiplied 
as union organizations increased. 

World War I had the effect of awakening Americans more than ever 
to the rest of the world and of making them conscious of the interde- 
pendence of nations around the globe. The church leadership saw great 
hope in the League of Nations and in the main approved Woodrow 
Wilson's efforts for that cause. They were already committed to carrying 
the gospel overseas; now they began to think about exporting democracy 
and capitalism around the world. 

The Louisiana Conference was presumably committed to the follow- 
ing statement which they quoted from the 1918 General Conference of 
the M. E. Church, South: "The Christian College and University, alone, 
can make the world safe for democracy and democracy safe for the world, 
by sending out an ever-increasing stream of educated Christian men and 
women, dedicated to the task of realizing in the life of the world, human 
brotherhood, a real Christian international order/' 65 


Bringing Methodists Back Together 

1 he 1920s and 1930s were a period of unusual change for 
Louisiana and for the Methodists in it. This was especially true politi- 
cally. It was the era of Huey Long, of whom Joe Gray Taylor wrote: 

Huey Long may have been the most remarkable American of the 
twentieth century.... His "share the wealth" program was definitely 
attracting a national following. 

In 1924, Long set forth the basic program that would later take 
him into office: better roads, better schools, free textbooks for children, 
a better court system. ... He approved the right of labor to organize. . . . 
He denounced the influence of corporations upon state government, 
concentrated wealth in general, and "supergovernment"-a 
euphemism for the Ku Klux Klan. 1 

During these years there was some change in the cultural character 
of the population in a few areas. The lumber industry was declining 
because of unwise use of forest resources. At the same time, oil produc- 
tion became a major industry and attracted a flood of oil field workers 
and their families. These outsiders brought a boost to local economies 
and often a change to the cultural character of the community. A study 
published by a Catholic agency in 1941 reported that Catholic churches 
in Golden Meadow, La Fourche Parish were joined by Baptist and 
Methodist churches. But "Oil field workers are not the church-going 
kind." 2 The same author states that on the lower coast 

are a veritable hodgepodge of nationalities and races, a varied mix- 
ture, good, bad, and indifferent, of descendants of the French, 
Spanish, Italian, Yugoslavian, Dalmatian, Russian, Polish, Irish, Ger- 
man, and Filipino extraction. Like the river, they are rough and gruff 
in their bearing and yet often suspicious, insidious, and deceptive 
in their ways. . . . Religion is generally at a low ebb. Ignorance and pride 
walk in the same stride.... They believe exactly what they wish. 

This kind of ethnic mix may not have been new in these areas, but 
Methodist preachers who grew up in other parts of Louisiana or other 
states were in an entirely different world when sent there. 3 


Bringing Methodists Back Together 187 

Another major change in these years was the realization on the part 
of Protestants that there was still a wide gulf between themselves and 
their Catholic neighbors, revealed in the presidential election of 1928. The 
Democratic candidate was Alfred E. Smith, a Roman Catholic and an 
avowed opponent of prohibition; the Republican candidate was Herbert 
C. Hoover. "Religion itself was not an issue," wrote Steven D. Zink of 
Louisiana State University. 4 He believed the real issue was Smith's threat 
to the eighteenth amendment, which Protestants considered "one of the 
soundest and most basic social reforms of all time." Moreover, there was 
Smith's association with Tammany Hall and representation of the urban 
way of life in general. Methodists undoubtedly helped Republican Hoover 
to carry five southern states. 

Still another significant change in society came with the Great Depres- 
sion of the 1930s, following the Wall Street stock market crash of 1929. 
The trauma of lost jobs and decreased income affected persons of all 
classes. Church giving declined sharply. The Louisiana M. E. Church, 
South raised $1,206,650 in 1927, the largest amount they had ever raised, 
to that point. It decreased every year thereafter to $535,701 in 1931. Even 
with the merging of M. E., South churches in Louisiana with several M. 
P. churches and a few M. E. churches in 1939, it was still sixteen years 
(1943) before the conference regained the 1927 level of giving. In 1943 
the total given for all purposes was $1,326,298. 

These decreases meant lower salaries for ministers and fewer dollars 
for important causes. In 1931 Bishop Hoyt M. Dobbs reported there were 
six ministers left without appointments, a rare situation in Methodist 
circles. In the M. E., South's Journal for 1931, four causes reported 
increased giving, thirteen reported decreases, and there was one cause 
to which nothing was given. 5 

More widespread was the loss of jobs and income by lay members, 
which increased the necessity for special attention to pastoral care and 
personal counseling by ministers, an aspect of pastoral work not well 
developed before that time. And it placed extra concerns on the bishop 
and presiding elders, as they tried to keep up morale among the pastors 
and the people. 

A final change, and one which was epoch making in Methodist 
history, was the nationwide reunion in 1939 of three major branches of 
the Methodist family. The Reunion will be described later in this chapter. 

Louisiana Methodist Episcopal Conference 

Outstanding ministers and laity were moving into positions of leader- 
ship in the Louisiana M. E. Conference during these years. Among them 
was J. W. E. Bo wen, Jr., who spent much of his ministry in Louisiana 
before being elected bishop in 1948, after serving the previous four years 

188 Becoming One People 

as editor of the Central Christian Advocate. Others included Walter Scott 
Chinn, W. T. Handy, Sr., W. G. Alston, J. W. Turner, John A. Lindsay 
(secretary of the Conferences from 1912 to 1924), G. C. Hay ward, G. W. 
Carter, and R. W. Calvin. Other prominent laymen were J. S. Brazier and 
Robert B. Hayes. Among the women, Mrs. M. S. Davage and Mrs. M. 
W. Clair were leaders in the conference. Mrs. L. E. Eckley of Alexandria 
was president of the Woman's Home Missionary Society, and Mrs. Lot- 
tie B. Shaw of New Orleans president of the Woman's Foreign Missionary 

The conference was facing the larger social issues of the day. At the 
1920 session the report on the state of the church dealt with such issues 
as labor and capital, temperance and reform, child labor and welfare, 
proper family relations, the interchurch movement, rural and city activi- 
ties, and Bible reading. They continued to express concern for the 
persecuted Jews of Europe and again took an offering on a designated 
"Jewish relief day/' 

The conference sessions were characterized by exuberant singing. M. 
S. Davage was labeled the "Louisiana Conference Chorister/' He led the 
conference in singing such songs as "My Country, Tis of Thee," " The 
Fight Is On," "I Am Bound For the Promised Land," "It Pays to Serve 
Jesus," and "I Seem to Be Old Timey, I Know." He also addressed the 
conference on important issues; and they nearly always chose him as a 
lay delegate to General Conference, often to head the delegation. 

The conference steadily sought to increase their payments to retired 
ministers, who were on a painfully small pension. They took offerings 
and planned ways to raise more funds, but none seemed to be more than 
a temporary expedient. They gave full support to the "centenary move- 
ment" and all the special emphases of the church. They were proud of 
New Orleans University, and in 1921 had 500 of the students come to 
the conference session in New Orleans and process in front of the 
delegates. In 1924, the conference protested what it considered discrimina- 
tion against the university by the M. E. Board of Education for Negroes. 
They countered the spirit of discrimination by helping in raising money 
for Flint-Goodridge Hospital, which was associated with the university. 

In 1920 the ministers of the conferences voted against a churchwide 
option to add lay delegates as full members of the annual conference -106 
to 1. At that time lay delegates were sent to annual conference sessions, 
but met separately most of the time, chiefly to act on specified items, such 
as electing the lay delegates to General Conferences. A similar resolu- 
tion was acted on a year later, with a similar result. 

In 1923 Bishop Robert Elijah Jones selected a site at Gulf side, forty- 
five miles east of New Orleans, near Waveland, Mississippi on which to 
build an assembly facility for blacks. He called upon fourteen ministers 
to raise $4,000 and used the money to purchase 300 acres of land. It was 
later called a Methodist summer resort and an assembly ground. Progress 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 189 

was made year by year in developing the facilities at Gulfside and also 
the program. Eventually they had what was called a summer school of 
theology, intended primarily to aid young ministers in the course of study. 
The conference in 1934 approved a drive for $3,000 to help improve 
Gulfside Assembly. 

In 1920, the conference gave special recognition to the life and accom- 
plishments of the recently deceased Bishop Alexander Priestly Camphor. 
He was a product of Louisiana and Louisiana Methodism and had been 
a missionary to Liberia before he was elected bishop for Africa in 1916. 
He was buried in New Orleans, as he had requested. 

For a number of years when the conference met over a weekend, a 
model Sunday school was provided for members and delegates. Often, 
visiting ministers or prominent educators were invited to speak; one such 
was W. W. Alexander, founder of the interracial commission in Atlanta 
and erstwhile Methodist pastor. He later served as acting president of 
Dillard University. In these years, the conference started a movement to 
provide an episcopal residence in New Orleans. 

In spite of good leadership and of self-sacrificing leaders and 
followers, the conference overall was not gaining in numbers, though 
its impact on society was growing. Its full membership was 17,308 in 1920, 
up to 18,834 in 1935, but down to 17,907 in 1939. The number of Sunday 
schools dropped in these years from 197 to 178, and Sunday school 
membership from 13,074 to 9,001. The number of charges dropped in this 
same period from 155 to 110, and church buildings numbered 202 in 1930, 
but only 181 in 1939. Only in value of church buildings was there an 
increase-from $555,475 in 1920 to $1,016,750 in 1930 but down to $670,600 
in 1939. Union and better relations with other branches of Methodists 
in Louisiana would change this picture. 

The conference developed a plan in this era to pay for most of the 
moving expenses of ministers. If a pastor used his own car for moving, 
he was reimbursed five cents per mile. Altogether the cost could not 
exceed $150, which was recouped from the local churches. District 
superintendents were allowed $400 per year for house rent. 

A serious conflict between M. E. and M. E., South members occurred 
in DeQuincy. By 1908, an M. E. Church was organized there. It thrived 
because of the timber and oil industries and the Kansas City Southern 
Railroad. In the late twenties, many new residents arrived, and since they 
were southerners, Methodists among them belonged to the M. E. Church, 
South. Eventually, they outnumbered the original founders and proposed 
that the church shift its affiliation to the M. E. Church, South. Naturally, 
the founders stood by their earlier allegiance. At conference in 1930, 
Bishop Hoyt M. Dobbs, of the Louisiana M. E. Church, South wired a 
proposal to Bishop Waldorf in Georgetown, where the M. E., Conference 
was being held, proposing that the M. E. Conference continue to appoint 

190 Becoming One People 

the pastor to DeQuincy and that he would try to appease the 
"southerners" at DeQuincy. 

In 1928 two men from Louisiana served on the Board of Trustees of 
the M. E. Blinn Memorial College in Brenham, Texas: James R. Meyers 
of New Orleans and J. P. Campbell of Welsh. 

Southern German M. E. Conference 

The major branch of this conference began in 1874 as the Southern 
German Conference. In 1918 it began using the name "Southern Con- 
ference (German)" and in 1923 dropped the word "German." It began 
with German churches in Texas as well as in Louisiana -chiefly New 
Orleans. Napoleon Avenue Church in New Orleans in 1925 was one of 
the two strongest churches in the conference, with 460 members. It traces 
its lineage back through the names of Franklin St., Felicity Street, and 
First German churches. 

The conference as a whole in 1920 was still made up of a considerable 
number of ministers who were born overseas. There were fifteen from 
Germany, seven from Sweden, and one each from Switzerland, England, 
Norway, Italy, Austria-Hungary, and Yugoslavia. W. B. Hebert of the 
Southern Conference spent most of his ministry working among the 
French speaking population, commonly called "Cajuns." At his death in 
1928 the public school at Bell City was dismissed for the funeral, and the 
church was crowded, in spite of the fact that the community was chiefly 
Roman Catholic. 

There were numerous hardships during this period. For example, in 
1927 Bayou Chene was abandoned to flood waters of the Mississippi River. 
The people left, and the church was closed. Indian Village was also tem- 
porarily closed for the same reason. The pastor, M. E. Kingsland, gathered 
Spanish moss and fished to make a living. In the Lake Charles District 
in 1933, sixteen banks, where Methodist churches and members had 
deposits, either failed or the assets were frozen. It was no wonder that 
some Methodists questioned the workings of the social and financial 
order. The M. E., South conference in 1934 adopted a report that referred 
to the suffering, heartache, and poverty that had come through unemploy- 
ment and the inequitable distribution of wealth and ended by calling for 
"some form of an economic order [to be] worked out so that no person 
would suffer for want of food, clothing, and shelter." 6 

Louisiana M. E v South Conference 

The Louisiana Conference of the M. E. Church, South had serious 
financial problems in this era, chiefly related to Centenary College and, 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 191 

on a smaller scale, to Mansfield Female College. But the conference was 
able to rely upon competent and dedicated laymen who took this situa- 
tion as their responsibility and worked out a fine solution of the problem. 

Looking Backward A Great Deal 

The conference, as it approached union with other Methodist 
branches in its area, may have been hesitant at the forthcoming dilution 
of its largely southern background. It was natural at that time for them 
to show a special sensitivity to their past and to cherish their heritage. 
At the 1921 conference a gavel made from a sill that had been under the 
pulpit of the old church at Opelousas was presented to the bishop; later 
at that conference a gavel made of wood from the Evangeline Oak was 
presented. During the sessions, J. D. Harper read a paper on the tragic 
death in 1815 of Richmond Nolley, and a committee was appointed to 
erect a permanent marker on his grave. At the same conference a resolu- 
tion was presented praising afresh the old hymns and urging that pastors 
and others "abandon the jazz jingles... and return to the sole use of the 
Hymnal, which is for our purpose by far the greatest collection of songs 
in English/' 7 In 1935, a portrait of Judge Edward McGehee, who helped 
establish the first Methodist buildings in New Orleans, was unveiled at 
conference, and R. H. Harper spoke of McGehee as a great leader for 

These actions were commendable and revealed a genuine apprecia- 
tion for past leaders and their accomplishments. There were, however, 
so many instances of remembered and honored heritage at this particular 
time when Methodists moved toward union that one wonders if they were 
expressing a reluctance to give up the past and an uncertainty about the 
future. Regardless, the 1937 vote for union in Louisiana was about the 
same proportion as that of other conferences in the southcentral 
region -215 for and ten against. The Little Rock Conference had one 
negative vote with 198 favorable, and the North Arkansas Conference 
gave 244 votes for the plan and two against. North Texas gave 255 votes 
for and thirteen against union. 

The conference showed a laudable unwillingness to be bound by the 
past when it readmitted Thomas Carter in 1932. It had summarily ousted 
him in 1916 for being silent and not protesting when the Methodists per- 
mitted Vanderbilt University to pass into the hands of a private corpora- 
tion. Carter died two years after being readmitted. In his memoir, car- 
ried in the Conference journal Fitzgerald S. Parker included along with his 
own high praise of Carter that of Costen J. Harrell and Dean George B. 
Winton of Vanderbilt University. 


Becoming One People 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 193 

Delegates and Leaders 

Leaders in a conference are often identified as those elected delegates 
to General Conference. In 1921 the Louisiana Conference of the M. E. 
Church, South selected Fitzgerald S. Parker, R. H. Wynn, W. W. Holmes, 
and George S. Sexton to represent it at the General Conference the follow- 
ing year. Parker was born in Louisiana and served pastorates there for 
several years, but spent most of his ministry on the staff of the Epworth 
League in Nashville. He was general secretary for twenty years and also 
was editor of the Epworth Era. He was secretary of the conference for 
twenty years before 1920. R. H. Wynn was a leading pastor, former presi- 
dent of Centenary College, presiding elder, and General Conference 
delegate four times. W. W. Holmes was a popular pastor in some of the 
leading churches, a presiding elder several times, and a leader against 
gambling in New Orleans. He was a delegate to seven General Con- 
ferences and the Uniting Conference. George S. Sexton was pastor, 
presiding elder, and president of Centenary College, where he made a 
notable record. He also served in the Little Rock, Texas, and North Texas 
Conferences. The Mount Vernon Place Church in Washington, D. C. is 
called a monument to his efforts. In 1934 Martin Hebert was a ministerial 
delegate to the General Conference; this was a recognition of the 
monumental evangelizing he had done among French speaking 

Lay delegates changed more frequently, unless they were prominent 
and were sent fairly regularly to the annual conference. In 1921 they were 
H. H. White of Alexandria District, R. O. Randle of Monroe-Ruston 
District, A. M. Mayo of Lake Charles District, and W. S. Holmes of Baton 
Rouge District. White, Mayo, and Holmes were sent to the next con- 
ference, and White was sent four times in this period. The first woman 
delegate sent to General Conference was Mrs. George S. Sexton, Jr., who 
went four times; she was first sent when she was president of the con- 
ference Woman's Society. Mrs. Glenn E. Laskey was, in a sense, her 
successor -as president of the society and as General Conference delegate. 
T. L. James and CO. Holland were sent three times. 

The denominations in these years were entering the field of health 
care through founding hospitals. Charles C. Selecman, who had served 
earlier for a brief time in New Orleans, returned to the conference ses- 
sion of 1922 and urged Methodists to support the new Golden Cross 
movement, which involved an offering for such work as the establishing 

On previous page: Louisiana Delegation, General Conference, Jackson, Mississippi, 
May 1934, Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Ministerial delegates, seated, I. 
to r.i Martin Hebert, Guy M. Hicks, F. N. Parker, W. W. Holmes, and W. Angie 
Smith. Lay delegates, standing I. to r.: S. M. McReynolds, J. H. Carter, Mrs. George 
S. Sexton, Jr., T. W. Holloman, and Judge R. W. Oglesby 

194 Becoming One People 

of hospitals. Since the members of the M. E. Church, South in Louisiana 
had no general hospital, they had arrangements with existing hospitals 
to care for their impoverished constituents. They also supported a chaplain 
at some of these hospitals. 

Property and Debts 

This era saw what was undoubtedly the most crucial financial crunch 
in the history of the conference. Early on, there were financial drives for 
churchwide projects. In a Christian education movement fund drive in 
1921, churches of the conference pledged $421,538, of which only fifty- 
one per cent had been paid by 1926. In 1924 a churchwide superannuate 
endowment fund was solicited, and Louisiana Methodists agreed to pay 
$286,968. By 1927 only $124,741 was paid. 

In the meantime, the two colleges were seemingly prosperous, but 
actually were accumulating debts. In 1924, the Conference Board of Educa- 
tion reported that Mansfield Female College was entering "an era of grati- 
fying prosperity" but also revealed it had a debt of $13,000. The same 
report said Centenary College "was never more prosperous/' 8 although 
it had, the report said, an indebtedness of $185,000. The indebtedness 
kept growing, however, and by 1925 the Board of Education persuaded 
the annual conference to issue $300,000 in bonds, chiefly to care for indebt- 
edness and immediate needs of the colleges. 

One possible source of help at this juncture was a proposed sale of 
the Louisiana share in the ownership of Seashore Assembly at Biloxi, 
Mississippi. The property was jointly owned by conferences in Alabama, 
Mississippi, and Louisiana. It included 182 acres and was valued at 
$155,000. The conference hoped to get some financial help from this sale, 
but negotiations dragged on. Finally, Mississippi Methodists convinced 
the Louisiana trustees that they ought not to sell. Nevertheless, the 1925 
bond issue of $300,000 enabled the board and the conference to breathe 
easier for the time being. Of course, the bonds had to be redeemed accord- 
ing to schedule. 

By 1927, money was scarce again, due partly to a great flood in the 
state, and many pledges to the colleges went unpaid. Consequently, the 
conference authorized a special emergency assessment of $50,000 to assist 
the colleges. These assessments were to be prorated among the districts 
with payment due by March, 1928. In addition, the Board of Education 
was authorized to borrow $30,000, to be repaid from the $50,000 assessed 
earlier. Bishop Warren A. Candler presided at conference, and after he 
made a rousing speech, he took a collection which amounted to $8,487 
in cash and $1,790 in subscriptions. T. L. James, who was emerging as 
a strong lay member, matched every dollar given. He was voted a special 
expression of thanks for his generous gift. 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 195 

Evidently the conference was living "from hand to mouth" because 
of its debt-service obligations. In 1928, the treasurer of the Board of Educa- 
tion was authorized to use up to $19,500 of the board's annual income 
to pay the interest on the conference's educational bonds. By 1929 the 
Board of Education lacked funds to pay interest on the bond issue, and 
its treasurer was authorized to borrow up to $19,500 for that payment. 
By that time the debt was so large and the income so low that payments 
could not be met. Thus a new issue of $300,000 in bonds at six percent 
interest was voted to pay off the old debt. 

By 1930, all sources of help for Mansfield Female College had been 
exhausted. The Board of Education reported that, much to its regret, it 
could not find a way to open the college that fall. Consequently, the con- 
ference gave authorization to sell the property and clear up the remain- 
ing debts, which amounted to almost $27,000. Thus closed one of the 
historic institutions of Louisiana Methodism. It provided education and 
culture to many generations of young women— and its influence still con- 
tinues. The alumnae are loyal and still meet— and remember. 

The proceeds derived from the closing of Mansfield Female College 
were not enough to solve all financial problems for the conference. It was 
not able to take up the bonds as they fell due, and Centenary College 
took up over $100,000 of the bonds to preserve its credit rating. Some 
of the bankers and business leaders of Shreveport met with the conference 
Board of Education to seek some way of handling the heavy burden of 
interest on the bonds. To complicate matters even more, one Shreveport 
bank involved in the matter was in liquidation by 1933, according to the 

The bonded debt was hanging as a millstone around the neck of the 
conference and all its activities and institutions. After muddling through 
until the fall of 1937, when the matter was more crucial than ever, con- 
ference leaders decided to do what ever it took to resolve the dilemma. 
Floyd B. James, treasurer of the conference Board of Christian Education 
and his father, T. L. James, also a member of the board, with the help 
of others devised a plan to take care of the complex problem. 

The total indebtedness of the Board of Christian Education involving 
Centenary College was $283,500. Members of a joint committee comprised 
of three members each from the Centenary Board of Trustees and the 
executive committee of the Board of Christian Education, met on March 
10, 1938, to formulate strategy. At the conference session T. L. James 
presented the plan for dealing with the situation and did so with painstak- 
ing clarity, giving ample time for questions and discussion. The plan was 
approved wholeheartedly and unanimously. 

The campaign plan was vigorously conducted throughout the con- 
ference, and its success was celebrated as one of the most illustrious 


Becoming One People 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 197 

On previous page: Photograph taken in Commercial National Bank, Shreveport, 
as T. L. James, director of the campaign for Bond Issue Retirement Fund, handed 
a check to Andrew Querbes and received cancelled Bonds of Louisiana Annual 
Conference at 4:30 P.M., June 1, 1938. From left to right: D. B. Raulins, B. H. 
Andrews, A. M. Serex, Floyd B. James, Louis Hoffpauir, T. L. James, H. K. Phelps, 
Jr., Pierce Cline, Andrew Querbes, R. H. Harper, C. O. Holland, G. W. Dameron, 
W. W. Holmes, Elmer C. Gunn, Briscoe Carter and W. L. Duren. 

accomplishments in the history of the conference. The results are told 
in this portrayal of where the funds came from: 

Centenary College Endowment Fund $150,000 

Discounts of Banks 61,370 

Board of Christian Education 10,000 

By churches and individuals 69,259 

Total $290,629 

All of this was reported to the 1938 fall meeting of the conference. James 
was presented with a silver shield in appreciation of his remarkably suc- 
cessful achievement in liquidating the bonded indebtedness. 

Gulf M. E. Conference 

O. E. Kriege pointed out that the M. E. Church organized the Gulf 
Conference in 1893 "to take care of several English speaking congrega- 
tions which sprang up among settlers from northern states (mainly Iowa) 
in the western part of Louisiana and in Texas/' 9 It also included the M. 
E. Italian mission in New Orleans known as the "Church of the 
Redeemer." In 1921 it had 2,529 members in Louisiana (organized as the 
Southern District) served by seventeen pastors. In 1926, it had about 2,600 

The church at Indian Village had the unusual and enviable reputa- 
tion of having every member attending worship services regularly. District 
Superintendent Frank William Loy reported in 1921 that the Italian church 
building in New Orleans had been dedicated and the mortgage burned. 
He referred to the service rendered by Evangeline Preparatory College 
at Opelousas, but the school did not survive long. At the conference of 
1922 the proposal to admit laymen as members of the annual conferences 
in the M. E. Church was favored, twenty-one votes for, and one against. 

In 1923 the conference voted to ask the General Conference to allow 
it to unite with the Southern German Conference. The next year members 
of the conference approved the proposed union of the Methodist 
Episcopal, Methodist Protestant, and Methodist Episcopal, South Chur- 
ches. They also proposed to turn over their Williams Chapel property 
in San Antonio to Trinity M. E. Church there. 

198 Becoming One People 

There was some shifting of ministerial members in these years. The 
conference received a pastor in 1923 by transfer from the United Brethren 
Church and one from Pilgrim Holiness Church. In 1924, it accepted a 
minister from the Separate Baptist Church. 

W. B. Van Valkenburgh, superintendent of the Lake Charles District, 
reported at the 1926 session of the conference a crisis in the operation 
of the Church of the Redeemer in New Orleans and its settlement house. 
For a number of years the national office of the Woman's Home Mis- 
sionary Society, located in New York, had been furnishing $5,000 annually 
to help with that work. Suddenly and without any previous notice "these 
good-sisters/' as Valkenburgh termed them, decided to close up the set- 
tlement house, dismiss the staff of workers, and sell the property of the 
settlement house. He protested vigorously this precipitous action but to 
no avail. 10 

Bishop Ernest L. Waldorf, who conducted the Gulf Conference in 
1926, tried an experiment based on a Methodist practice: he asked the 
ministers to write on a slip of paper the names of two men whom they 
desired as district superintendent. He made clear that this was not an 
election and would be received as a suggestion. He did not report the 
results or what he did with the suggestions. However, the next year when 
he organized the session of the Southern Conference (combining the Gulf 
Conference, the Southern Conference, and the Southern Swedish Con- 
ference) he had the same four districts and the same four district 
superintendents as in the Gulf Conference the year before. By this time 
the German language was not used widely in Methodist churches, though 
the 1926 Journal of the Southern German Conference was printed in both 
German and English. 

The Gulf Conference merged with the Southern German Conference 
and the Southern Swedish Conference in 1926 at Houston, Texas, and 
adopted the name, The Southern Conference. 

Methodist Protestant Louisiana Conference 

The Methodist Protestants in Louisiana announced that they had 
achieved a membership of 3,006 by 1920, compared to 2,708 members 
five years before. Since their own practice of lay involvement had been 
accepted by the two larger Methodist bodies, their growth had been 
discouragingly slow. Maybe that was the problem: the other Methodists 
had accepted their most distinctive policy! Nevertheless, they still believed 
in their cause, though they were slow in allowing women to be delegates 
to church conferences. It was not until 1892, after a serious struggle, that 
women delegates were seated in the Methodist Protestant General Con- 
ference. Eugenia St. John told the conference, as they were debating the 
issue, "the great question of the future is whether you will have power 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 199 

to conquer the forces of sin, and I tell you it will need every woman that 
can be found to stand side by side with the good-minded men in this 
work if the church is to be triumphant/' 11 In 1920 Louisiana Methodist 
Protestants sent Mrs. Mary E. Bartlett, one of their ministers, as a delegate 
to their General Conference. At the 1926 Louisiana Conference session 
Lula Wardlow gave the opening sermon; Aunt Jane McKeithen was 
referred to as 'The Mother of the Holiness Movement" in this part of the 
country; and Lula Wardlow was mentioned a second time as an "ordained 
lady of the conference and the mayor of Montgomery, Louisiana." By 
1939 there were ten women members of the conference. 

The Louisiana Methodist Protestants worked valiantly to minister to 
their constituents, recruiting new leaders and facing their problems. By 
1920, Joseph Milus Stevenson, a relative of William Stevenson, left the 
M. E. Church, South and joined the Methodist Protestants. E. M. Mouser 
was president of the M. P. Louisiana Conference, and he was elected as 
the 1924 General Conference delegate. In 1922 the conference received 
a proposal to consider uniting with the Nazarene Church in Louisiana. 
The conference identified two areas of concern which the M. P. Church 
needed to address in that era. (1) They needed to give more attention 
to youth ministry, and (2) as Methodist Protestants moved from the rural 
areas to the towns and cities, they often dropped out of their former 
church. In 1927, to help with the first concern, they invited Lawrence 
Little, a product of their church in Louisiana, to instruct them on youth 

One of the few agencies of the conference was the Home of the Good 
Samaritan, of which J. R. Downs was the "rescue agent" and financial 
agent. L. H. Swayzee was the manager. It operated on about $4,000 annu- 
ally, most of which was provided by donations from organizations and 
individuals. In 1928 thirty-three young mothers and twenty-five babies 
were cared for. 

Leaders and Groups in the Churches and Conferences 

There were numerous subgroups in the churches, and their members 
were expanding the range of their concerns and services to the people. 
The day when "the preacher ran the church" was passing, as it was 
destined to do. 


The ministerial function itself in these years was expanding in scope, 
and numerous specialized ministries were emerging. By 1926, the Loui- 
siana M. E., South Conference listed in its appointments not only pastors 

200 Becoming One People 

and presiding elders but also a conference Sunday school field secretary, 
a chaplain in the state penitentiary, a superintendent of the Methodist 
Orphanage, the dean of a seminary, a national executive in the Epworth 
League, an editor of the Advocate, a chaplain in the U. S. Army, a pro- 
fessor in a seminary, a superintendent in the Antisaloon League, a con- 
ference secretary of church education, and a conference or district 
evangelist. In other years, there were a chaplain of a veterans' hospital, 
a financial secretary for the orphanage, a president of a church college, 
a hospital commissioner, a director of the Louisiana Legislative Prohibi- 
tion League, a chaplain in the U. S. Navy, a conference Bible agent, and 
a missionary to Korea. 

The ministers in the other Methodist conferences, those that later 
came into The United Methodist Church, were somewhat similarly used 
in their careers, though on a lesser scale. Since there were fewer of them, 
their ministers , roles were focused primarily on the local church. Lawrence 
Little was named director of youth work on a state level for Methodist 
Protestants and later for the whole denomination. Several women 
ministers in the M. P. Conference served as conference evangelists or lec- 
turers for The Woman's Christian Temperance Union. In the Southern 
Conference of the M. E. Church, two ministers were heads of colleges, 
one was chaplain of Seamen's Bethel at Galveston, and pastors such as 
B. E. Breihan, Phil Deschner, and Raymond R. Bloomquist were notewor- 
thy (some of whom served in Louisiana). The M. E. Gulf Conference had 
a somewhat similar situation. In 1921, it had two district evangelists and 
two ministers connected with colleges. In the M. E. Louisiana Conference, 
white ministers in the beginning headed institutions, but this gradually 
changed as blacks became more experienced in administration. 

In the early part of this era, the Louisiana Conference, M. E. Church, 
South had about 160 ministers, the M. E. Louisiana Conference about 
155, the M. E. Gulf Conference had thirty, the M. E. Southern Conference 
about forty, the M. E. Southern German Conference about six, and the 
Methodist Protestant Louisiana Conference about thirty. 

In addition to these full-time pastors, there were at that time in Loui- 
siana Methodism about seventy local preachers belonging to the various 
churches. Their function was to assist the pastor as he needed them. They 
did not draw a salary but were employed otherwise or were self- 
employed. Quite often they were called on to serve if a conference member 
was not available as full-time pastor. Sometimes a church could not pay 
enough salary for a full-time pastor. When called upon to serve as the 
pastor of a church, the local preacher was classified as a supply or sup- 
ply pastor. There were twenty-one local preachers serving as supply 
pastors in Louisiana M. E., South churches in 1920. In other Louisiana 
Methodist conferences the situation was roughly comparable. 

The churches of these conferences were grouped geographically into 
districts for administrative purposes, and they and their pastors were 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 201 

supervised by a minister who had the title of presiding elder (later, district 
superintendent). In 1920 the M. E., South districts were Alexandria, Baton 
Rouge, Monroe-Ruston, New Orleans, Shreveport, French Missions, and 
Lake Charles. 

When a minister had served a long time in the conference, or when 
he could no longer serve a church effectively because of age or ill-health, 
he was retired or, as they said in the 1920s, "superannuated." His pen- 
sion was based on length of service or on his need. In 1920 these annual 
pension payments in the M. E., South conference ranged from $100 to 
$500. However, widows of preachers were also eligible for pensions. Mrs. 
J. B. Fulton, a pastor's widow, had six children and was allotted $600 per 
year. An unusual event about 1920 was that Mrs. C. T. Munholland of 
New Orleans asked that her pension as a pastor's widow not be paid but 
be used for others. 

In the Louisiana M. E., South Conference in 1932, the annual retire- 
ment allowance ranged from $150 to around $250, with a few higher. Due 
to the depression, the regular pastors failed to receive a total of $45,278 
of the salaries they were scheduled to get; in 1927, the arrears was only 
$9,046, which was about normal. Probably the most neglected among the 
retired preachers and their widows were those in the Louisiana M. E. 
Conference. As late as 1940 retired M. E. pastors were being paid from 
$20 to $70 annually. Only $1,375 was available in 1940 for 22 retired 
preachers; that averaged about $62 each— for the whole year. Widows 
of ministers were even worse off; they received about $20 on an average. 

Woman's Societies 

Methodist women's organizations in Louisiana continued to grow and 
make their contribution to the spiritual life of the churches. They shared 
their concerns and their goods generously with others at home and 

Women of the Louisiana M. E., South Conference had at the begin- 
ning of this era 133 organized societies in local churches, involving 3,676 
women. At the end of the period (1941) they had more than doubled the 
number of societies, to 270. They also had more than doubled the number 
of members, with 10,873. 

Only in the matter of finances had they not made increases com- 
parable to the gain in membership. By 1926, membership increased to 
6,149, and giving reached a high point of $115,843. But after that, a decline 
in both membership and giving set in. Membership in 1931 was 5,622. 
A low point in giving was reached in 1933 with $52,120. But the leaders 
were faithful and persevering in their efforts, and ultimately they gained 
back what had been lost, and more. Conference presidents in this era 
were Mrs. C. F. Niebergall of New Orleans, 1917-1927; Mrs. V. H. Spinks 
of Ruston, 1928-1930; Mrs. S. M. Collins of Monroe, 1931-1932; Mrs. 

202 Becoming One People 

George S. Sexton, Jr., of Shreveport, 1933-1941. These women led the 
societies in Louisiana to a membership of 10,873 and to contributions of 
$80,984 by 1941. 

During this period the societies sponsored organizations of children 
and youth in order to interest and to educate them in Christian mission 
beyond the local church. By 1923, the Louisiana Conference, M. E. 
Church, South had nearly 1,100 members in these youth groups. They 
had over 1,100 subscribers to The Missionary Voice, a monthly journal from 
Nashville that carried significant news and viewpoints concerning the mis- 
sionary enterprise. In the early part of the period, they were supporting 
four missionaries and seven Bible women at an expense of about $16,000 
annually. By 1927 they supported five missionaries and ten Bible women; 
in 1931 these figures were seven and nine, respectively. In 1935 they pro- 
vided funds for three foreign missionaries, three deaconesses, and six 
Bible women who circulated Bibles and urged women to follow Christ. 
By this time they also provided four scholarships for foreign students and 
twenty-five for students of French families at Houma. 

They continued assistance to St. Mark's Hall and the Mary Werlein 
Mission in New Orleans and to MacDonell Wesley House in Houma. They 
also gave added support to Scarritt Bible and Training School in Nashville, 
a project of M. E., South women. In 1928, they opened a business girls 
inn (Jubilee Inn) in Shreveport as a Christian home for girls working away 
from home. They also financed a student worker at Louisiana State Nor- 
mal (Natchitoches). There was a strong program for the Dulac Indians, 
including a day school for children, a night school for adults, and a church 
fellowship with regular services. 

During this era representatives of Louisiana M. E., South women's 
groups courageously combated "ignorance, indifference, prejudice, greed, 
lawlessness, materialism, communism, and war/' 12 as Mrs. George S. 
Sexton, Jr., put it. This involved approving an antilynching law, work- 
ing to achieve a larger place for women in church life (including ordina- 
tion), and giving up luxuries to help the needy. 

Members of woman's societies in the Louisiana M. E. Conference were 
also loyal and sacrificial through this period. As a group, they suffered 
more hardships from the depression than their counterparts in the M. 
E., South. Nevertheless, they were similarly active in "good works." In 
Shreveport in 1920, they held a Woman's Home Mission convention, at 
which Mrs. Amelia Turner, president, gave the annual address. They 
reported $364 raised for home missions; the next year it increased to $600. 
But with the depression these figures decreased. The Southern Conference 
of the M. E. Church reported that ladies aid societies had nevertheless 
raised $2,660 for their causes in 1932. 

M. E. women in New Orleans assisted in supporting Lafon old folks 
home. In this era the home had forty-two residents— eighteen Methodists, 
thirteen Baptists, one Catholic, and a few members of other 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 203 

denominations. They were truly needy persons, for sixteen were blind, 
fourteen old and infirm, three feeble minded, seven paralyzed, and two 

They also assisted the operation of People's Community Center in 
New Orleans. The center carried on a daily nursery, a free employment 
service, a kindergarten, a free children's clinic, a welfare bureau with case 
work, a Boy Scout troop, and an adult education and recreation program. 

M. E. women in the M. E., Southern Conference maintained The 
Evangeline Home for Girls in the early 1920s. It was a dormitory serving 
girls in the Methodist Evangeline Preparatory School in Basile, Louisiana. 
All grades from primary through high school were taught there. After 
the school burned in 1926, it and the girls' home were moved to Opelousas 
to a facility which could accommodate eighteen girls. In 1926 the 
Evangeline School was merged with Blinn Memorial School at Brenham, 
Texas, but the Evangeline Home for Girls was moved to Welsh which 
already had a good school. Unforeseen financial troubles in operating the 
school forced its closing in 1927. 

When Gilbert Academy moved from Baldwin to New Orleans, the 
M. E. Board of Negro Education offered the vacated property -thirty acres 
of land -and $6,000 endowment to the Woman's Home Missionary Soci- 
ety. The facility was named Sager-Brown Home in honor of Mrs. Addie 
G. Sager of Syracuse, N.Y. and Mrs. C. W. M. Brown of Elmira, N.Y., 
who had helped in Louisiana mission work. It opened in September, 1921, 
and a cottage for boys was added in 1924. But misfortune struck: floods 
damaged the property in 1927; fire destroyed the administration building 
in 1932; and a storm in 1934 damaged buildings, trees, and crops. Then 
the superintendent and his wife resigned after eight years. Agnes Little 
from the Eliza Dee Home in Austin took charge, and problems dimin- 
ished. By 1940, the home was receiving praise from former students for 
work well done. 

Eliza Page continued her work with people of French and Italian 
background, and her mission secured its own building in 1920. But by 
1926 it was closed because (1) public schools were now accepting Italian 
children and (2) the work was located too close to similar facilities operated 
by Episcopalians and the M. E., South Conference. However, in 1928 an 
Italian kindergarten was reopened and a nursery school for working 
mothers added, and it served until closing in 1938-39. 13 

After the 1939 union of three major Louisiana Methodist groups, 
women— black and white— in The Methodist Church belonged to the same 
denomination but not to the same annual conference. However, as they 
began to get acquainted and to appreciate each other, they moved toward 
the time when they would break the racial barriers. Leaders of this effort 
were the two presidents— Margaret Davis (Mrs. J. W. E., Jr.) Bowen from 
the Louisiana M. E. Conference, and Mrs. George S. Sexton, Jr., of the 
M. E. Church, South. 

204 Becoming One People 

One thing that was achieved at union in 1939 was the standardiza- 
tion of the name of women's mission groups. They were all renamed the 
Woman's Society of Christian Service. Some may have regretted losing 
the old names; Dan Brummit, one of the M. E. Christian Advocate editors, 
wrote, partly tongue-in-cheek, that the Ladies Aid Society had been 

an organization that never suspends, dies, nor takes a leave of 
absence. It is many things in one: a pastoral reinforcement, a finan- 
cial treasure chest, a woman's exchange, a recreation center, a cookery 
school, a needlework guild, a relief society, a school of salesmanship, 
a clearing house for domestic and church problems, a prayer 
meeting— each in turn plays many parts. 14 

Methodist Protestant women in Louisiana began organizing mis- 
sionary societies in their sixty-one churches about 1920. The church at 
Grayson had the first society, and it had twenty members. By 1924, there 
were three more, at Monroe, Jonesboro, and Urania. Ten societies were 
reported in 1927, with 135 members. In the same year, seven Ladies Aid 
Societies with a total of ninety-six members were reported in the con- 
ference Journal. They raised $137 for home missions and $32 for foreign 

In 1928 the first report of the M. P. Woman's Missionary Society 
appeared in the conference Journal. Mollye Stewart of Pollock was listed 
as the president, Mrs. E. M. Mouser as first vice president, Mrs. W. O. 
McKeithen as corresponding secretary, and Mrs. J. W. McKeithen as 
member of one of the committees. Evidently a conference- wide meeting 
and organization began in 1923. In the 1928 report the Methodist Protes- 
tant Church listed eleven missionary societies, with 142 members. At that 
time there were eight Ladies Aid Societies with 127 members. They raised 
in 1928 fifty-three dollars for home missions and forty dollars for foreign 
missions. They also urged members of their church to subscribe to their 
paper, The Missionary Record. 

In 1934 Mrs. J. J. McKeithen became president of the conference 
Woman's Missionary Society, and there were twenty organized units in 
the churches. In 1936 the practice was begun of having the Woman's 
Society present a report at the annual conference. By the time of union, 
the Methodist Protestant Woman's Societies in the conference had raised 
$1,639 for their work. 

Men in the Church 

In the early part of the century Methodist men may have had more 
authority than women in local churches, but they were not as well- 
informed as the ladies. They were indeed important, for they held the 
purse strings! But they did not read and study church papers and literature 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 205 

as the women did. Nor did they organize societies to study about national 
and world conditions and affairs as the women did. 

Men in the M. E. Church, South were primarily charged in these years 
with looking after the "temporal business of the Church. " 15 That meant 
to see that the finances were in order and that church property was ade- 
quate and cared for. They were even authorized "to tell the preachers 
what they think wrong in them!" By 1922, local churches had boards of 
lay activities, whose scope of concern was broader than before— 
encompassing evangelism, social service, missions, Christian education, 
stewardship, and tithing. 16 Activity in all these areas was slow in develop- 
ing, however. 

In 1914, the M. E., South General Conference authorized a Conference 
Board of Lay Activities, and soon the M. E., South members in Louisiana 
had such a group, with W. S. Holmes as conference lay leader. In his 
report for 1915 Holmes pointed out that in Methodist circles the work 
of the church was principally in the hands of preachers and that other 
churches were outstripping Methodists in training and using laymen. 

The Board of Lay Activities was somewhat restricted by the require- 
ment to plan its work so as to cooperate with all other boards rather than 
to fashion its own program. Holmes as conference lay leader was followed 
by W. M. Spinks in 1918 and he by T. W. Holloman in 1919, who reported 
that laymen were undergirding the entire program of the conference. 
Reports annually in the Journal indicate that they were involved in 
numerous phases of conference activities. For example, by 1925, the lay 
leader reported that the Louisiana Conference led the whole church in 
getting subscriptions to the magazine of the movement, The Methodist 

Holloman was replaced as conference lay leader after eleven years 
of fruitful leadership. The new leader was S. M. McReynolds of Monroe, 
who took office in 1930. In the early 1930s the Board of Lay Activities 
took special interest in social issues, giving attention to such areas of social 
concerns as motion pictures, the family, war, gambling, race relations, 
temperance, and economic life. 

In 1936 CO. Holland became lay leader of the conference, and the 
next year a strong plea was made for greater emphasis on social justice. 
But in 1938 the board presented a report by C. A. Barnett that struck 
another note: 

Men who live by the Golden Rule and pattern their lives upon Jesus 
Christ need no social program to guide them.... Methodism 
today... needs to emphasize somewhat more strongly the responsi- 
bility of the individual. . . . Support of politico-economic or social pro- 
grams... should be avoided by our church, since such programs 
necessarily propose to accomplish their ends by government regula- 
tions. Such a program implies a mixing of Church and State. 17 

206 Becoming One People 

The end of the 1930s was a peculiar period. In the words of Joe Gray 
Taylor: 'The five years that followed Huey Long's death have been 
referred to as the 'Louisiana hayride/ a title taken from a popular song. 
Probably, though not certainly, it was the most scandal-ridden period 
of Louisiana history/' 18 The Board of Lay Activities in 1939 addressed this 
situation by calling for Louisiana Methodists "to assume full responsibility 
as Christian men and women to redeem our beloved state from the moral 
place to which it has sunk politically." 19 

Epzvorth Leagues and Youth Ministry 

The General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church voted 
in 1924 to create a unified youth program by merging all aspects of youth 
work; the same step was taken by the M. E., South General Conference 
in 1930. This brought together Ep worth leaguers, Sunday school youth, 
and youth mission groups into a unified youth program. This resulted 
in the phasing out of such groups as the Young People's (Missionary) 
Circles in the Louisiana M. E. Church, South. They were reduced from 
242 to thirty-one by 1932, and by 1935 none was reported. Woman's Soci- 
ety leaders then concentrated on young women's circles, in which they 
reported 800 members for 1935. 

The Epworth League had long provided excellent training in 
churchmanship— including the mission phase of it. Early in this era, in 
all the episcopal Methodist branches in Louisiana there were district and 
conference Epworth League organizations. The M. E., South leaguers in 
Louisiana in 1918 began an annual statewide league assembly at Mansfield 
Female College. 

There were 3,315 league members in Louisiana M. E., South churches 
in 1920 -and 116 chapters. This was an increase of thirty-nine chapters, 
and they had raised $2,137 for missions. By 1922 there were 5,165 
members who had raised almost $10,000 for all purposes. In 1929 (the 
last year before the Epworth League became an integral part the youth 
division of the church school) there were 242 chapters with about 6,000 
members who raised over $12,000 through their channels. These leaguers 
elected as their conferencewide presidents James B. Grambling, Mrs. E. 
C. Cayard, and Charles White. 

The Epworth Leagues of the M. E. Church, South, issued a paper 
called The Louisiana State Epworth League Messenger. It survived at least 
for a year and carried news of local leagues, promoted the annual meeting 
at Mansfield Female College, and gave useful hints on how to develop 
a good league. It announced in one issue that the 1921 assembly would 
have a course on "The Negro Problem in the South" and one using Walter 
Rauschenbusch's book, Jesus- and that there would be seven mothers 
serving as chaperones in the girls dormitory. 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 207 

Youth going to the assembly from New Orleans and Shreveport could 
board special Pullman cars in those cities to travel to Mansfield. Costs 
were $12.00 for food and lodging for eight days, plus $1.00 registration 
fee. 20 Speakers and leaders during these years included D. B. Boddie, 
Carl F. Lueg, Guy M. Hicks, Floyd B. James, Elizabeth Langford, Julia 
Reed ("our missionary to Cuba"), D. L. Mumpower (Missionary to Africa), 
Moises Boudet of Cuba, Yuki Hinata ("our little Japanese friend"), Lydell 
Sims, J. Richard Spann, W. L. Duren, Mrs. George S. Sexton, Jr., and 
William H. Wallace. 

In 1925 soon after the leaguers had started meeting annually for their 
summer assembly at Mansfield Female College, they decided to raise 
$20,000 to construct an auditorium as the second floor of one of the col- 
lege buildings. They were able to raise three-fourths of the needed 
amount, and the college helped with the rest. In 1930 the Epworth League 
auditorium was dedicated. 

By 1929, Elizabeth Langford was employed as the conference field 
secretary, and the first Hi-League Assembly was held that year. It was 
reported to have issued the largest number of credits in the entire M. 
E. Church, South. Young people across the state were assisting in revival 
services. At the 1930 session of Louisiana M. E., South Conference, Fitz- 
gerald S. Parker, editor of the Epworth Era in Nashville (and member of 
the conference), and Miss Langford spoke to the conference about 
achievements of the league. 

Some Methodists complained that the Epworth League meetings 
simply provided a place for older youth to court. To this charge Ina C. 
Brown, one of the great women of Methodism (who attended the 
Mansfield Assembly in 1922 as a staff member of the league board in 
Nashville), replied that there were few places better than the church to 
find one's lifetime partner. 

One example of how some Methodist leaguers spent their extra time 
was demonstrated by those at First M. E. Church, South in New Orleans; 
they gave the afternoon on the first Sunday each month visiting patients 
at the home for incurables in New Orleans. 

In this period a further facility for the Christian nurture of M. E., South 
youth— and others— was built as Camp Brewer on forty acres near Alex- 
andria. By 1941 the camp had twenty-one cabins, an assembly hall seating 
800 persons, and a kitchen-dining room -all free of debt. The Alexandria 
District had taken a lead in developing it; also R. H. Harper, Charles N. 
White, C. W. Lahey, W. D. Milton, and many others were given credit 
for assisting in its creation. 

In 1920 leaguers of the Louisiana M. E. Conference numbered almost 
3,000: 1,261 senior leaguers and 1,472 junior leaguers. They rallied on 
youth day, with 215 in Baton Rouge District, 225 in New Orleans, 700 
in Lake Charles, 250 in Shreveport. Lake Charles District brought sixty 
together, and a local council emphasis saw 312 come to St. Martinville. 

208 Becoming One People 

In addition, fifty went to a conference assembly. When the M. E. General 
Conference merged the league with Sunday school, not all local groups 
complied at once. Thus we find that the Louisiana M. E. Conference still 
reported 1,112 league members in 1930. In 1940, Hubbardine Daniels was 
president of the youth council of the Louisiana M. E. Conference. Vice 
president was Josephine Gay. 

It is beyond denial that much of the leadership of the league locally 
and conferencewide was provided by young (and some not so young) 
adults. Nevertheless, youth were involved and given as much respon- 
sibility as they could assume. In addition, the league pioneered in holding 
conferencewide assemblies, and these were continued in the new youth 
program as youth assemblies. In time it became truly a youth organiza- 
tion with sympathetic adults providing counsel and support. 

Ministry to Students 

By 1933 increased attention was given to the ministry to college and 
university students. Joe Brown Love, who became one of the outstand- 
ing university chaplains in Methodism, was added to the ministerial staff 
at First M. E. Church, South at Baton Rouge. The appointments listed 
him as junior preacher under J. Richard Spann, but the Conference Board 
of Christian Education called him the university pastor at Louisiana State 
University. He stayed in Baton Rouge until 1938 and was director of the 
Wesley Foundation and also instructor in Bible at the university. The Con- 
ference Board of Christian Education commended Love for his able leader- 
ship and management and expressed appreciation and endorsement of 
his work. 

In 1936 Joe Brown Love spoke to the conference of his work at L. S. 
U. and at other schools in the state, and succeeded in generating increased 
interest and support. The next year, the conference Board of Christian 
Education allocated small amounts for student work at L. S. U., Loui- 
siana Tech, Louisiana Normal, Southwestern, and Centenary. In 1938 M. 
D. Fulkerson succeeded Love at L. S. U., and the latter became conference 
Director of Student Work. In 1940, A. C. Voran was named Director of 
Student Work and Recreation and was followed in 1941 by William 
Schuhle, Jr. 

Sunday Schools/Church Schools 

Sunday schools in numerous cases in Louisiana preceded the 
organization of new churches. They provided a nucleus of interested per- 
sons who had a common concern for the spiritual life of the community. 
One example of this is Brooks Church in New Orleans. It was started 
at the initiative of Edith Grace Henry, who secured permission to hold 
Sunday school services in the St. Bernard Housing Authority in March, 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 209 

1942. By the end of August more than a hundred persons were enrolled. 
A church organization followed. 

Methodist Sunday schools in Louisiana have been a continuing fac- 
tor in church growth -numerically and spiritually. Many new Methodists 
joined churches after having been members of the Sunday school. In addi- 
tion, study and discussion helped members to grow in their understand- 
ing of the Christian faith and in their commitment to God through Jesus 

Thus Louisiana Methodists encouraged strong Sunday schools as a 
vital part of local churches. In this era great progress was made in teacher 
training, guidance for administrators, improvement in curriculum, and 
a better understanding of the use of the Bible in Sunday school. As early 
as 1915, the Louisiana M. E., South Conference appointed W. H. Cole- 
man to serve one year as conference Sunday school field secretary. He 
was followed by several others who served one year each. Finally, CD. 
Atkinson took the task for nine years, until the new Board of Christian 
Education replaced the Sunday School Board in 1930. 

The new Methodist emphasis on Christian education was popular 
in Louisiana. As early as 1922, M. E., South churches in New Orleans 
had the first standard training school in the state, and Louisiana awarded 
the largest number of credits of any state for courses taken in the 
Methodist connection. As a whole, the program of teacher training in the 
M. E. Church, South in the 1920s and 1930s was considered the most 
thorough in any denomination. The Nashville office of the Sunday School 
Board reported in 1924 that 151 persons had taken credits in training 
courses in the Shreveport District, 131 in Baton Rouge, 128 in New 
Orleans, eighty-three in Monroe, seventy-one in Ruston, and thirty-four 
in Lake Charles. Some of this achievement was due to the work of such 
persons as Mrs. J. M. Henry of Ruston ("one of the outstanding Sunday 
school workers in the state") who spent the summer of 1924 as a Sunday 
school field worker. 21 

In this era M. E., South Sunday school enrollment in Louisiana grew 
from 33,073 to 47,166, and in 1940 almost 2,500 workers were enrolled 
in training classes. George W. Dameron was conference secretary of local 
church education from 1936 to 1943. 

The Sunday schools in the Louisiana M. E. Conference in 1920 had 
13,150 members in 214 churches. This is compared to a church member- 
ship figure of 17,188. By 1930, however, these figures showed a decline 
to 7,871, partly because some white churches were shifted to the new 
Gulf Conference. In fact, the Louisiana M. E. Conference complained in 
1930 about shifting of its churches into other conferences: "The organiza- 
tion of the white work into a separate [Southern] Conference largely 
affected the Conference membership roll." 22 The enlarged Southern Con- 
ference (adding whites from the Gulf Conference and the Southern 
Swedish Conference) more than doubled its membership. Probably the 

210 Becoming One People 

new Southern Conference did not actually compete for members with 
the Louisiana M. E. Conference, but likely it intimidated the latter because 
it was another strong white conference, partly within its territory. 

In 1921 the Gulf M. E. Conference had fifty-six Sunday schools in 
Louisiana with 5,465 members. The Southern M. E. Conference had 
twenty-one Sunday schools in Louisiana with 3,270 members. This, 
together with the Louisiana Conference, made a total of 16,606 Methodist 
Episcopal Sunday school members in Louisiana. 

Turmoil Over Doctrine 

This was an era when ferment in theology burst its previous bounds. 
To some persons, theological ferment and innovation proved exhilarating 
and seemed to bring a newer, fuller revelation from God. To others, any 
change in theological concepts meant deserting the true faith. Soon per- 
sons were being categorized as modernists, liberals, fundamentalists, or 
conservatives— without a clear definition of these terms. This kind of 
categorizing was done generally in most religious groups in that era. 
Ministers were charged with being untrue to the Christian faith if they 
deviated from what their accusers thought was the "true doctrine/' Prob- 
ably the most publicized case in the nation was the dismissal of Harry 
Emerson Fosdick from First Presbyterian Church in New York and his 
subsequent call to a national pulpit at Riverside Church in the same city. 

In Louisiana, the modernist-fundamentalist turmoil was not severe, 
though it did affect several persons connected with Louisiana Methodism. 
In 1922, Arthur Madison Shaw, M. E., South pastor at Oakdale, Alexan- 
dria District, was the author of a book entitled Shorten the Line. It dealt 
calmly with some of the issues emerging in theology. Here are some 
statements from it: 

Just at the present time, there is a widespread revival of 
premillenarianism. . . . Yet its advocates warp a great many passages 
of Scripture to fit their theory, and seem to support their doctrine. 
They even... by a juggling with numbers that ought to shame a 
schoolboy, attempt to determine "the times and seasons which the 
Father hath set within his own authority." 

...We must insist upon a respectable theology: that is, a theology 
that men of sense and culture can respect. The thought of the Church 
must keep pace with the advancing thought of the age. Teachers of 
religion must meet problems as fearlessly, investigate them as 
thoroughly, accept results as honestly, and announce conclusions as 
candidly, as teachers and investigators in any other field of 
knowledge. . . . They must think and let think. Heresy cannot be beaten 
down and silenced by authority; but must be driven from the field 
by truth established upon evidence, addressed to reason. 23 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 211 

The Advocate reviewed the book on November 23, 1922, and recom- 
mended it "as worthy of a careful reading by all those who are interested 
in present-day religious thinking." 

Evolution an Issue 

The theory of evolution, since it seemed to some persons to contradict 
the Bible, was also an unsettling issue. R. A. Meek had been the editor 
of the Advocate from 1909 to 1918 and then had returned to a pastorate 
in Mississippi. In his letter printed in the Advocate for October 26, 1922, 
he strongly criticized Millsaps College for using as a text Harris Franklin 
Rail's book, New Testament History, saying "Mr. Rail is not a fit instructor 
for the youth of Southern Methodism," calling him "this liberalistic pro- 

J. W. Lee, presiding elder of the Baton Rouge District, protested in 
an article in the Advocate on January 25, 1923, an earlier statement by Elmer 
T. Clark of Nashville, whom Lee charged with "mildly apologizing for 
the evolutionists." Lee quoted a writer who claimed that evolution "rests 
on no adequate scientific basis." "I have no quarrel," Lee continued, "with 
the honest theologian who believes this [evolution] was God's method 
of creation," but he had no patience with people who looked down on 
all who disagreed with their own point of view. 

Arthur Madison Shaw joined the commentators in the Advocate on 
May 24, 1923, by writing, "Contrary to popular opinion, no theory of 
evolution teaches that man descended from an ape. But a good many 
of us are 'apes/ no matter where we descended from! Let Billy Sunday 
visit a city and for months thereafter dozens of fledgling preachers will 
turn somersaults in the pulpit, throw off their coats to fight the devil. ..." 

New Theological Interpretations 

In 1922, R. A. Meek resigned (located) from the Mississippi Con- 
ference, and H. T. Carley, his successor as editor of the Advocate, wrote 
on November 23 that Meek probably located because he wanted to pro- 
test the trends in the church; Carley wrote further that he had "yet to 
see any proof that our leadership is unsafe... that our ministry is unor- 
thodox, or that our people are unsettled in their faith." 

Meek began his own paper in 1922, called The Southern Methodist and 
accused many national staff members of the M. E. Church, South, with 
"rationalization," "skepticism," "modernism," and "heresy." Among those 
he attacked were Fitzgerald S. Parker of Louisiana and editor of the 
Epworth Era and Elmer T. Clark, editor of The Missionary Voice. In the 
Southern Methodist for December 19, 1923, Samuel A. Steel wrote an arti- 
cle against union with the Methodist Episcopal Church in which he 
expressed another type of modern ideology, white supremacy. He wrote, 

212 Becoming One People 

"Let us keep the Churches separate, and in the South keep solid... solid 
for white supremacy, and the purity of the Anglo-Saxon race.../' 

One of the most highly publicized controversies over "unsound" 
teaching began as a complaint against John A. Rice, pastor of Rayne 
Memorial Church in New Orleans in 1906-10. In 1920 he became professor 
of Old Testament at Southern Methodist University, where several Loui- 
siana Methodist students were enrolled. Though after he left New Orleans 
he had been a pastor in Fort Worth, St. Louis, and elsewhere, when he 
went to S. M. U. he moved his membership back to the Louisiana Con- 
ference. He had found it a congenial conference and one that was fairly 
progressive, at least compared to some others. The university was, and 
is, owned by the Methodist conferences of the South Central Jurisdic- 
tion, of which Louisiana is one, and each conference names trustees to it. 

Rice attended the Louisiana Conference in 1920 as a member and par- 
ticipated extensively in the proceedings. He made one of the scheduled 
addresses and later spoke when Epworth Leagues and Sunday schools 
were featured. He gave the benediction at one of the sessions and was 
requested to give a prayer of thanksgiving after a disagreement in the 
conference was averted. 

A few weeks after he returned to Dallas, Rice's book, The Old Testa- 
ment in the Life of Today, was published. It met criticism initially from J. 
Frank Norris, a fundamentalist Baptist preacher in Fort Worth, who was 
able to stir up some conservative-minded Methodists. Samuel A. Steel 
of Louisiana, who was then writing a column in The Texas Christian Advo- 
cate, on April 14, 1921, charged that "It will cause many a believer to 
mourn. According to Rice, the Old Testament is a sort of compilation of 
mythology, tales of ancient firesides about on a par with the rhymes of 
Mother Goose, with here and there a bit of authentic history." But Steel 
could not resist giving grudging commendation to Rice as a writer (that 
was his own pet hobby) by saying, "Thank the Lord, first, for a man 
among us who can write such a book, and second, that I don't have to 
believe all there is in it!" 

Rice himself described the book as an effort to (1) trace the growth 
of the Old Testament, showing the religious life of the Hebrews; (2) show 
the message of the book through the characters and the way their religion 
developed; (3) reveal how the Hebrew writers and prophets dealt with 
problems that Christians are still dealing with; and (4) allay the fears of 
some persons by showing that Bible scholarship will not lessen faith but 
strengthen it. 24 

Rice found it necessary to resign from the faculty at S. M. U. and 
was appointed to Okmulgee in the East Oklahoma Conference, thus 
transferring from the Louisiana Conference. 25 

Another example of turmoil over theology also occurred at Southern 
Methodist University, where several Louisiana Methodist students were 
enrolled. One of these, Virginia M. Davis (now Mrs. Glenn E. Laskey) 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 213 

took a course on the Bible taught by Myms Thornburgh Workman, 
member of a fine Methodist family in Arkansas. He, too, was accused 
of doubting some of the cardinal doctrines of Christianity. Mrs. Laskey 
describes her evaluation of Workman's influence on her religious thinking: 

After long years I remember Dr. Workman with a shining 
countenance. It was as if he were illumined from within and the light 
shone through, brightening his face. 

I was a rebellious student in his class on Bible. I came from a 
fundamentalist background where every word of the Bible was a 
sacred truth, not to be questioned. The Bible and science, in my judg- 
ment, were wholly incompatible and much of the Bible was 

Dr. Workman was evidently aware of the bewilderment and con- 
fusion of many of his students. His approach to Genesis was not com- 
bative, argumentative or defensive, but it was done with reverence, 
with sympathy and an intellectual background. He was a warm, 
approachable, caring person. He explained that those long-ago 
authors never intended for their writings to be considered as science, 
but they did place God at the center of all life, and creation emanated 
from him. 

As this warm, vibrant committed Christian, this man with the 
"glowing face," continued his course, my faith and that of my fellow 
students began to change, to deepen as we learned lasting truths, 
as we came to new understanding in regard to God and the Bible. 
I can say with all sincerity that Dr. Workman changed my life; his 
influence has been and is lasting. 

Around the University, Dr. Workman, and other faculty 
members, fierce winds of opposition were blowing. It was reported 
that he was teaching evolution, the science that downgraded God, 
the Bible, and destroyed Christian faith. Opposition and condemna- 
tion grew throughout the Texas Conferences and adjacent conferences 
until the storm broke, and Dr. Workman was dismissed. 

Dr. Workman was in every sense a martyr, for like Martin Luther, 
he would not recant, but stood true to his belief, which was the Truth. 
I only know the University lost a great teacher, a great soul, and the 
students a trusted friend. 26 

Discontent in Other Wesleyan Branches 

By 1929 there were rumblings of discontent in other Methodist bodies 
in Louisiana regarding doctrinal emphases. R. T. Pynes, Lake Charles 
district superintendent in the M. E. Church, said in his 1929 report to 
the conference: "The church of today grapples with new and strange 

214 Becoming One People 

foes... new theology, reckless and unwarranted interpretations of the Holy 
Scriptures. . . [and] all conspire to chill the ardor of the pastor and militant 
church." 27 

The Methodist Protestant Church had less discontent over newer 
theological emphases, but the editor of The Methodist Protestant declared 
on January 9, 1929: 

We are afraid that the serious situation [in religion] of these days is 
that men are not speaking any longer with the authority of the great 
believers of the past. Science has thrown a mystic influence over many 
of them.... Many a preacher in his pulpit speaks with an if because 
he is afraid of not having a reputation of being a scholar if he speaks 
with boldness the truth he has sworn to declare. 

The same issue had an article condemning New Commentary on the 
Holy Scriptures, edited by scholarly Anglican Bishop Charles Gore in 
England. "So we are not surprised to find that it claims that David did 
not slay Goliath, Moses did not write the Pentateuch, a whale did not 
swallow Jonah, Noah never built an ark, and so on.... Thank God, there 
are many faithful ministers of Christ who have not joined in the Great 

One Methodist Protestant in Louisiana, J. W. Lee, commenting on 
the approaching union of the three larger Methodisms in 1932, declared, 
"We have led Methodism in practically all the reforms in Methodist doc- 
trines and policy for over a century. Is our work done? I for one believe 
that Methodism still needs the Methodist Protestant Church to herald 
forth a strong voice in defense of religious democracy, fundamentalism, 
and true scriptural holiness— free from wild fires and fanaticisms.... 28 " 

Some of the complaints about the changing theology arose from the 
books listed for young pastors to master in the denominational course 
of study. Nevertheless, among the authors of books listed for the con- 
ference course of study during the period were nationally known and 
respected ministers and educators. Of course, John Wesley's sermons 
headed the list, but there were also books by Harris Franklin Rail, T. R. 
Glover, William A. Quayle, Worth M. Tippy, Luther A. Weigle, Henry 
H. Meyer, Abel Stevens, Arthur C. McGiffert, Albert C. Knudson, 
Edmund D. Soper, Borden P. Bowne, Charles R. Brown, Edgar S. 
Brightman, Francis J. McConnell, Leslie D. Weatherhead, and E. Stanley 

Bishop John M. Moore's comments on theology among Methodist 
people in Texas and Oklahoma in this era seem to apply also to Loui- 
siana Methodists: 

They are conservative but not reactionary; they are progressive but 
not fanatically liberal. To be sure, there are some fundamentalists and 
some thin liberalists, some economic, political, and social reformists, 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 215 

some world-orderists, some pacifists, some racialists, but not many 
persons are disturbed thereby.... Annual Conferences are too pro- 
miscuous in theological holdings to try complaints of unorthodoxy, 
but an open discussion can let out very much excess, pent-up, 
beclouded and suppositive thinking. 29 

Off the Record 

The Southern Methodist Yearbook in the 1930s carried a lot of statistics 
and lists of important information. 30 It also carried a great deal of human 
interest material -almost trivia, we would call it now, but it tells us what 
several Louisiana M. E., South members were like. From a glance at the 
1928 Yearbook we learn that W. D. Sautelle of Lake Charles was ninety- 
five years years old; B. James of Ruston was ninety-one; Mrs. M. H. Baker 
was ninety; Lee Stewart of Baton Rouge was eighty-seven; Mrs. Saman- 
tha A. Pilley was eighty-six; and Mrs. L. A. Bransford was eighty-five. 
We learn also that the Louisiana Methodist Orphanage had 196 children, 
with three teachers, six buildings, 230 acres of land, an endowment of 
$25,000, and an average cost of $250 a year for each orphan. 

Two Louisiana Methodist preachers were cited for more than fifty 
years service; they were John F. Patterson of Farmerville, and John T. 
Sawyer of Baton Rouge. 

Methodist YMCA/YWCA secretaries were George W. Dameron at 
Baton Rouge and H. R. Howell and C. Huffman at Shreveport. Mary 
Nichols was in charge of the Cooperative Business Girls Home at 
Shreveport. A. M. Serex of Louisiana M. E., South Conference was a stu- 
dent at the University of Brussels in Belgium. Among the Methodists in 
Congress were John N. Sandlin and Riley J. Wilson from Louisiana. 
Among the hobbies or recreational activities of Louisiana Methodists were 
these: fishermen— Albert S. Lutz of Alexandria and George D. Purcell 
of Oberlin; gardeners— William W. Drake of Ruston, William W. Holmes 
of Shreveport, and Robert H. Wynn of Lake Charles; golfers -Elmer C. 
Gunn of Monroe, Frank L. Wells of Baton Rouge, and John B. Peters of 
New Orleans; and hunter and fisherman— Walter C. Scott of Shreveport. 

On "Mothers' Day Off at the Parsonage" 

Mrs. Moye Wilson Goodrich (Mrs. Robert E., Sr.) of Shreveport, it 
was reported, found pleasure in looking after six children and doing some 
church work. Mrs. May Stone Holmes (Mrs. W. W. Holmes) of Alexan- 
dria broadened her knowledge by taking correspondence courses. Mrs. 
Alma Sawtelle Wynn (Mrs. R. H. Wynn) of Lake Charles was a radio fan. 
Mrs. E. C. Gunn of Monroe used motoring to "revive" herself. Mrs. A. 

216 Becoming One People 

S. Lutz of Alexandria, Mrs. G. D. Purcell of Oberlin, Mrs. W. C. Scott 
of Shreveport, and Mrs. F. L. Wells used reading to "revive" themselves. 

Among the couples who had a golden wedding about this time are 
listed: S. H. Werlein and his wife, Leila Ewing, and also Rev. and Mrs. 
M. L. White of Lake Charles. 

In the 1929 M. E., South Yearbook, First Church, Shreveport is listed 
sixth in membership in the M. E. Church, South with 3,612; it was almost 
as large as each of the two just larger than it. The Shreveport First Church's 
Sunday school was fourth largest in the whole denomination. 

Agencies and Institutions 

Most of the institutions that Methodists sponsored in this era were 
healthy and making progress, though the depression was fateful for some. 

New Orleans University/Dillard University 

New Orleans University continued providing a good start in life for 
black youth— and others. In 1925 the Board of Education of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church contributed $15,000 a year to the University's $50,000 
budget. It expanded its facilities and hired new and top grade professors. 
Endowment had reached $100,000. But the economic depression gradually 
lessened the M. E. Church's contribution from $15,000 to $1,500, and the 
University's budget was cut to $40,000. The Louisiana M. E. Conference 
contributed $6,000 before the depression and in 1935 was able to give only 

This acute financial crisis led to the conclusion that drastic steps were 
necessary to avoid closing the university. The solution found in 1930 was 
to merge New Orleans University with Straight College and take the new 
name Dillard University. Straight College was founded in 1869 by the 
Congregational Church. Dillard University maintains an organic relation 
to both The United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ. 
The name Dillard was chosen in honor of James Hardy Dillard, who had 
been an important influence in the improvement of education for black 
people. The merger was made possible by help from the General Educa- 
tion Board and the Rosewald Fund. 31 The first chief administrator, Will 
W. Alexander, served as acting president of the merged school. He was 
a Methodist minister and important leader in promoting better interracial 
relations in the South. "The administration's conduct of the university 
through the long continued depression and under the handicap of bank 
failures and of greatly curtailed revenue had been nothing short of wiz- 
ardry," wrote the faculty later. 32 Following Alexander's tenure as acting 
president, William Stuart Nelson served as the first regular president. 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 217 

The Methodist General Board of Education employed a Peabody Col- 
lege team to evaluate Dillard University in 1941-42. 33 The faculty was 
judged to be giving more serious consideration to the objectives of their 
college than any other Methodist related college in the study. The faculty 
in the 1940s had some members who were notable and nationally known 
scholars in their particular fields. There were twenty-two full-time 
teachers, and they were well-paid, compared to similar institutions the 
survey team had studied. Twenty per cent of the faculty had the Ph.D. 
degree. Altogether, they were a well- trained, cooperative group. 

Students considered the good points at Dillard to be (1) adequate 
buildings and campus, (2) student-faculty relationships, and (3) 
democratic policies. As a whole, they were fairly well satisfied with the 
school and its policies. 

Weaknesses pointed out in the survey were that Dillard had (1) no 
endowment income, (2) low tuition income, and (3) a deficit in the foot- 
ball program. Altogether, however, Dillard's future was seen as bright. 

In 1939 some leaders of the Louisiana M. E. Conference Board of 
Education were dissatisfied with the contribution Dillard was making to 
the Methodist youth in the school. The conference board reported to the 
conference session that it believed the students were not getting the kind 
of education which made them useful in local churches. The next year 
they renewed their complaint, and proposed that a department of religious 
education be established as a part of Gilbert Academy. They proposed 
that the conference elect two of the trustees to the new university. Their 
preference for Gilbert may have been because its head, Mrs. Margaret 
Davis Bowen, was active in their church circles. 34 

Gilbert Academy 

In 1919 Gilbert Academy had merged with New Orleans College, 
bringing to that institution its endowment fund of about $81,000. It was 
a four-year high school with a three-fold curriculum: college preparation, 
home economics, and commercial training. This merger helped the col- 
lege in its secondary education program, and the Academy's enrollment 
increased to about eighty in 1935. 35 It had an "A" rating from the Loui- 
siana State Board of Education. Students from as far away as California 
enrolled in Gilbert, and it could boast that about ninety percent of its 
graduates went on to college. 

Centenary College 

One of the longest presidential tenures at Centenary College was that 
of George S. Sexton, Sr., from 1921 to 1932. He was well known in 
Shreveport and Louisiana before he went to Centenary. He had been 
pastor of First M. E. Church, South in Shreveport from December, 1913, 

218 Becoming One People 

to December, 1916, and from December, 1918, to December, 1921. In the 
intervening years he served in Washington, D. C. helping to complete 
a new sanctuary for Mt. Vernon Place Church, which has been called a 
monument to his labors. After his presidency at Centenary College ended 
in November, 1932, he began a four-year term as presiding elder of the 
Shreveport District. 

Centenary's enrollment doubled (to 206) the second year Sexton was 
there, and by 1924-25 enrollment for all sessions reached 432. In 1924 the 
Conference Board of Education reported that in the past year $758,775 
had been added to the assets of the college. After Sexton announced the 
successful campaign, H. T. Young, a general evangelist and member of 
the conference, voted against approving the report because he was against 
intercollegiate athletics. 

Athletics had been a strong and sometimes a divisive part of 
Centenary's history and never more so than in this era. Nationally known 
Alvin N. "Bo" McMillin was football coach in these early years, and 
brought national attention to the college. Because of what it considered 
an over-emphasis on sports then, the Southern Association of Schools 
and Colleges delayed accreditation of Centenary. 36 The letter of refusal 
stated that McMillin was paid a salary of $8,333. Although the president 
received only $8,200. In 1932 Centenary had an undefeated season, which 
included victories over L. S. U., Texas, Ole Miss, S. M. U., Texas A and 
M, and a tie with Arkansas. 

Centenary was gaining strength in the 1920s. In 1924 it had 432 
students and 32 instructors. In 1925 the college employed forty-one 
teachers for the 613 students. The next several years were rocky ones 
financially, and the conference had to adopt strenuous measures to keep 
the college going. 

In 1932 Sexton became presiding elder of the Shreveport District, and 
W. Angie Smith, pastor at First Church, was asked to serve as acting presi- 
dent of the college until a new president could be selected. The new presi- 
dent was Pierce Cline, a Georgian, who had been teaching at Centenary. 

The depression was evidently causing hardships among the 
Centenary College faculty, for the 1935 report to the conference referred 
to their sacrifice. In 1936, when Sexton retired from the presiding elder- 
ship he gave time to help with public relations for Centenary College. 
Again in 1937 enrollment increased. It now stood at 545 regular students 
on campus, 300 in the night school, and 228 in the summer school, a total 
of 1,073. 

But the college and the conference had a day of financial reckoning 
in 1937-38, as they struggled to pay off their bond indebtedness. That 
was a time of deep trauma for Louisiana Methodists. Yet they survived 
and went on to greater achievements, largely due to the devotion and 
concern on the part of key lay persons. The college concentrated on col- 
lecting money for a student center. It also looked forward to the prospects 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 219 

of a larger student body, for this was the year that the Methodist Protes- 
tant Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South came together as The Methodist Church. 

The conference set the second Sunday in June as the time when each 
church was expected to recognize Centenary College as its school for 
Methodist youth. The 1941 Journal reported (1) a new high in student 
enrollment of 1,457, (2) in the previous ten years Centenary had helped 
train about fifty ministerial students, and (3) eighty-five members of the 
conference were alumni of the college at that time. 

The church connection of the college was reemphasized at the 
November, 1941, meeting of the Louisiana Conference. The conference 
now required that athletic teams be either self-supporting or financed 
through outside funds. The trustees voted on December 12, 1941, to 
discontinue intercollegiate athletics (except basketball) for the duration 
of the war. In 1942 the Board of Education reported: "We do not feel that 
the abandonment of intercollegiate athletics has in any sense hurt the col- 
lege/' 37 The conference also asked the Centenary trustees to reverse their 
earlier decision to allow dancing on the campus, since that activity was 
not appropriate for a Methodist college. 

Paul M. Brown, Jr., was one of the most loyal friends of Centenary 
College and of the M. E. Church, South in Louisiana. He was a top flight 
business man, in addition. Son and grandson of Methodist preachers, 
he was interested in all activities or actions that would benefit his church, 
his college, and his state. He did not pursue a suggestion that he serve 
as president of Centenary, but did agree in 1933 to serve on the board 
of trustees. As a new trustee, Brown found the college in serious finan- 
cial straits. He served as the board's secretary and treasurer for eight years. 
Then he agreed in 1941 to be temporary chairman and served for 25 years, 
always temporarily. His contributions to Centenary College were 

Brown was also interested in civic matters. He was organizer and 
president of the Louisiana Public Affairs Research Council and assisted 
in forming the Council for a Better Louisiana. He also helped organize 
the Gulf South Research Institute and was a member for sixteen years 
of the Louisiana Civil Service Commission, serving as chairman for a 
term. 38 

Although Centenary's student body and its faculty grew during this 
period, the endowment declined from $684,134 in 1922 to $562,000 in 1940 
due to financial problems in 1929-33. The faculty grew from nine members 
in 1918 39 to thirty-five in 1940. 

Mansfield Female College 

Financial troubles forced Mansfield College to close its doors in 1930, 
but during the 1920s it continued to make a fine contribution to the lives of 


Becoming One People 

Courtesy Elizabeth Lowrey 

Mansfield Female College 

its students. There were 203 students registered for the 1919-20 college 
year, and there was discussion of needing to expand the boarding 

In 1923 there were fifteen teachers for the 151 students. In the finan- 
cial campaign of that year, the town of Mansfield raised $50,000 for the 
school but other areas did not meet their goals. The student body 
remained substantial with dormitories filled to capacity. By 1926 there 
were over 200 students, and the faculty and administration stood at 

In that year, D. B. Raulins was elected president. He was a versatile 
man, having served as pastor, district superintendent, professor at 
Centenary College, editor of the Advocate , and a trustee of Southern 
Methodist University. He was the last president of Mansfield College, 
serving until it closed in 1930. 

The alumnae launched a campaign in 1930 and tried to save the 
school. Hundreds of alumnae gave what they could, but in that depres- 
sion period they simply could not raise the requisite funds. Mansfield 
Female College was the oldest women's college west of the Mississippi 
River and for many years was the only school for women in that part 
of the country. 40 

The late, beloved Walter Lowrey of Centenary College was actually 
an alumnus of Mansfield Female College; he took a few courses there 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 221 

in his youth. He knew its history well, and summed up the factors that 
closed it in these words: 

Its fortunes fluctuated from year to year, affected by economic con- 
ditions, competition from the increasing number of public institutions, 
and the changing tastes in education. All over America, in the 1920s, 
junior colleges for women came to be seen as anachronisms. Their 
day had passed. This, together with serious economic problems, 
spelled the end of Mansfield Female College in 1930. 41 

Mary Kay Trippe wrote about her recollections of the College and gave 
this testimony: "It did not die unmourned; it did not die without leaving 
a heritage of culture, faith, and ideas which still lives. I do not like to 
hear anyone say that the College failed. It did not fail! It did its job 
gloriously and completed it in 1930. " 42 

Louisiana Methodist Orphanage, Ruston 

This institution continued its service in a splendid way. It was one 
of the most stable of all the projects of the M. E., South Conference and 
had wide popularity. It was high on the conference priority list as the 
1920 report claimed, "Our first and greatest duty [is] to support and main- 
tain our [orphanage] before responding to the call of other institutions." 43 

In 1920 R. W. Vaughan had already served as superintendent for more 
than a decade. The orphanage had 154 children in its care that year, and 
it was in the midst of a drive to secure funds for a new plant, having 
thus far collected a total of $75,000 for that purpose. Sunday schools in 
the conference helped support it with an offering on Easter Sunday and 
"work day" in the fall. 

In 1922, the officials reported the best year in the orphanage's history. 
It had a total of $106,000 in real estate and many improvements in facilities. 
Beginning in 1917, listed among its real estate holdings were "Negro 
cabins"— which were probably housing for black employees. By 1926, 
there were 209 children being cared for. In that year, the inventory for 
buildings and equipment were valued at $165,750. By 1928, there were 
twelve youth in college, fifty-one in high school, eight in public gram- 
mar school, and ninety-one in the orphanage school. Total assets had 
reached the figure of $252,337. 

In 1930, the orphanage had a drop in income due to the depression, 
and also almost a complete failure of crops on the land they farmed. In 
1933 the depression and an epidemic of influenza (which caused the first 
death in fifteen years) necessitated withdrawing $2,500 from the emer- 
gency fund. 

For the first time in its history the orphanage had an episcopal visit 
when Bishop Hoyt M. Dobbs went to the board of directors meeting on 
the grounds. Superintendent Robert W. Vaughan reported that nine 

222 Becoming One People 

young people from the Orphanage had graduated from college that 
year— the largest number of such graduates in one year in the history of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 

During part of this period, the railroads in Louisiana continued their 
practice of shipping freight cars of produce and foodstuffs to the orphan- 
age at Thanksgiving time without charge. In 1935, however, they gave 
up this practice. In addition, for the first time the orphanage was faced 
with paying their teachers, and there was talk in the conference of shift- 
ing the designation of an Easter offering in the churches to some other 
projects. All of these developments caused Vaughan to feel that dark days 
were ahead, and he referred in his annual report to possible "drastic cur- 
tailment of our work or the complete abandonment of the institution/' 44 

Some years Louisiana had too much water; sometimes it had too lit- 
tle. A severe drought in 1936 meant poor farm production for the orphan- 
age. The garden produced few vegetables to can, little sugar cane for 
syrup, and little hay and few potatoes to lay up. Certainly Vaughan had 
cause to write in his annual report in 1936, "The problems of manage- 
ment and upkeep, in this modern day life, are growing more complex 
and difficult in operating such an Institution/' 

The year 1937 saw Vaughan close his twenty-eight-year career as 
superintendent of that "happy, contented and healthy family of 
youngsters, well fed, well clothed, and... well and practically educated 
for a life of good and useful citizenship," which he had started in 1908. 45 
In his final year, he could report a splendid year agriculturally, with quite 
a bit of canning done, a good crop of sweet potatoes, a fine lot of syrup, 
ample hogs to provide the winter meat, and a number of cows giving 
an abundant supply of milk! He recalled that the orphanage began with 
a $14,000 debt, the main building half finished, and one matron living 
with thirteen children in a rented house. When he retired, the record 
showed that some 800 children had been cared for, and more than fifty 
of them had graduated from college. The value of the institution had 
climbed to $200,000. He was elected superintendent emeritus. 46 

Vaughan's successor was C. B. White, who had been pastor at Hodge 
in the Ruston District and had been a member of the Conference Board 
of Missions. White's first annual report indicated that Vaughan's good 
work continued though the orphanage had not been able to receive very 
many new children because it was filled to capacity. 

Memorial Home/Methodist Home Hospital, New Orleans 

The M. E., South, Conference continued its work of giving a new 
start to unmarried mothers. In 1920, in its first report to the conference, 
the Memorial Home recorded sixty-five unmarried mothers and seventy 
babies in its facilities. It had a budget of about $9,500. William E. Thomas, 
appointed superintendent in 1920, transferred at the end of the year, and 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 223 

J. G. Snelling succeeded him. With his wife helping him run the home, 
Snelling, in 1922, took on a second responsibility. He became pastor of 
Louisiana Avenue Church in New Orleans. He served the home effec- 
tively until 1946, though he was technically retired in 1942. He then 
became financial secretary of the Memorial Mercy Home Building Projects. 

Snelling was active in many extrapastoral duties in the conference, 
such as president of the Board of Missions; director of the 1926 million 
dollar campaign for missions; trustee of Centenary College; chairman, 
Committee on Evangelism; and member of the Committee on Rural Work. 
His most notable work, however, was as superintendent of Methodist 
Home Hospital. He and Mrs. Snelling seemed to have special abilities 
to deal with the problems of unwed mothers, to which they gave so many 
years of their lives. 

Sixty-five young women were received in the Home in 1923. They 
represented numerous denominations and several faiths and were from 
various states of the Union. The record shows these particular women 
made a wide variety of decisions about their future: four got married, 
three went into training to be nurses, three took positions, one went to 
a two-year course at the Virginia K. Johnson Home in Dallas, three left 
by request, three ran away, one transferred to Charity Hospital, one was 
sent from the home for disobedience, one died, twenty-eight returned 
to their homes or vocations, and seventeen were still at the home. Regard- 
ing the forty-five babies born in the home, that year, thirteen were 
adopted, five were kept by their mothers, four were taken by other 
relatives, five were placed in other institutions, five were still-born, and 
thirteen were in the home at year's end. The budget for the home was 
about $11,200. 47 

In 1924 the home cared for eighty-four young women and did not 
serve just Methodists. Reports give statistics on numbers and denomina- 
tions. There were, for example, about twice the number of Baptists as 
Methodists in these years. There were also a number who were not pro- 
fessed Christians. The cost of operating the home reached almost $20,000 
in 1927. In 1928 fifty-two of the young women returned to their homes, 
compared to twenty-eight in 1923. Eight of the girls in the home in 1928 
joined the church while there. 

By 1929, the home was called the Memorial Home of Mercy, and it 
cared for 123 young women then. Also in that year, twenty-two were 
not members of a church when they entered the home, but all except 
one joined while there. The three sponsoring conferences (Mississippi, 
North Mississippi, and Louisiana) provided about half the budget of 
$18,000; the rest came from personal contributions. 

In 1930, of the 128 young women whom the home had cared for, sixty- 
five returned to their own homes. In 1936, a total of 137 mothers were 
given care, a record number to that time. By 1938 the City of New Orleans 
was providing a small sum to augment the home's funds. In 1940 the 

224 Becoming One People 

conference as a whole was asked to take an offering early in February 
to assist in the expenses of the home. By 1942 its budget had reached 
$24,000. The conference Journal of 1939 stated, "Possibly no more effec- 
tive work has been done under the strain of limited means than has been 
accomplished through these years by J. G. Snelling and his wife." 

Chaplains in Hospitals, Prisons, Military Service 

The M. E., South, Conference continued to appoint chaplains to 
Charity and Marine Hospitals in New Orleans, to Charity Hospital at 
Shreveport, and to Conway Memorial Hospital in Monroe and to pro- 
vide funds for hospital chaplains in other districts. After union, the Loui- 
siana Conference continued to appoint J. R. Downs as superintendent 
of the Home of the Good Samaritan in Monroe after he -and it -were 
a part of The Methodist Church. He served there until he died in 1952. 

H. S. Johns served twenty-one-and-a-half years as chaplain of the 
state penitentiary. Part of that time he served on the Conference Com- 
mittee on Prison Reform and kept the conference informed about prison 
conditions. He was active in sponsoring the Volunteer Prison League, 
a non-sectarian religious organization for the prisoners. He established 
good relations with inmates, supplying them with Bibles and other 
reading materials. One minister testified that Johns won the utmost 
respect and esteem of all with whom he worked, and one of the wardens 
remarked that "There was no criminal so hardened but that he had the 
highest regard for him, and no one would have harmed a hair of his head. 
He helped the authorities over many trying situations...." 48 After Johns' 
death E. M. Mouser was appointed chaplain of the State Penitentiary. 
He served effectively for seven years. 

There were other chaplains for special causes. A. F. Vaughan was 
a chaplain for many years in the U. S. Army. Others who served for a 
time as civilian chaplains in this era included W. F. Chase, A.J. Martin, 
H. N. Brown, W. H. Royal, J. A. Alford, Jolly B. Harper, E. C. Gunn, 
R. T. Ware, and E. R. Haug. 

The Southwestern Advocate, New Orleans 

The Southwestern Edition of The Christian Advocate continued to serve 
its function as a cohesive and a challenging force among Louisiana black 
Methodists. Editors were outstanding, as revealed by four of them in suc- 
cession (1896 to 1932) being elected bishop by the Methodist Episcopal 
General Conference: Isaiah B. Scott, Robert Elijah Jones, Lorenzo H. King, 
and Alexander P. Shaw. 49 It carried on its masthead during some of these 
years, "The Leading Religious Journal of the Negro Race." 

Lorenzo H. King was editor from 1920 to 1931. In these years the 
Southwestern Edition of the Christian Advocate was edited in New Orleans 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 225 

and published in Cincinnati. Editor King (and later, Shaw) had numerous 
features to use in common with other editions provided by the publishers. 
Among these were a page of Washington comment by Harry Earl 
Woolever, a page of devotions, comments on the Sunday school lesson 
(International Series), and Epworth League topics. Most of the rest of the 
sixteen pages were available for editorial comment by the editors, news 
of black congregations, colleges, meetings, and events. For example, in 
the issue for May 18, 1933, there was a long story about a meeting of 
recreation leaders to be held at Atlanta University in July and an account 
of the commencement exercises at Bennett College. 

Editor Shaw, who succeeded King in 1931, gave directions for sub- 
mitting material to the paper. He directed the readers not to send original 
poetry, not to demand publication of contributed articles, to keep reports 
brief, and to help to encourage circulation. Shaw stressed the rights of 
blacks forthrightly; he wrote a small booklet entitled Christianizing Race 
Relations. In the Advocate on July 27, 1933, he challenged blacks to give 
"most attention and effort [to] the building up in ourselves [of] honesty, 
dependability, integrity, intelligence, thrift, uprightness...." 

After Shaw was elected bishop in 1936, he served the New Orleans 
area for four years and served in the Baltimore area and elsewhere until 
retirement in 1952. He was recalled in 1952 to serve in New Orleans follow- 
ing the death of Bishop Robert N. Brooks. 

New Orleans Christian Advocate 

The editors of the Advocate continued to serve the cause of Methodism 
with their various talents. They were: Henry T. Carley (1918-1928), R. 
H. Harper (1928-1930), J. Lloyd Decell (1930-1931), D. B. Raulins 
(1931-1934), W. L. Duren (1934-1946). 

Carley had been teaching at Centenary College since 1911 when he 
was elected editor of the Advocate in 1918. From 1922 to 1924 he was also 
pastor of Felicity Street Church. In the 1919 Journal the Advocate was 
characterized as an assistant pastor which makes fifty-two pastoral calls 
to each subscriber's home annually. The publishing committee called for 
10,000 subscribers to the paper; of course, Mississippi Methodists who 
shared in sponsoring it were due to take 7,700 of these. Quotas were 
assigned to each district in Louisiana. 

Carley spoke to the 1921 conference about the crucial urgency of get- 
ting more subscribers, and John F. Foster, chairman of the publishing 
committee reinforced Carley's urging. Foster called for new subscribers, 
and secured 1,701 then and there. At the 1924 conference Carley was 
praised for his "fine sense of proportion, not only in the subjects treated 
editorially, but also in choosing articles for publication. ... It is a trying 
time for all our Methodist editors.... While holding pronounced views 
of his own... he deals in transparent fairness... and seems to give space 

226 Becoming One People 

impartially to both sides wherein there is controversy. This is worthy of 
high praise." 50 

In 1925, the situation had become so difficult that the Conference 
Board of Christian Literature proposed a special rate— if at least half the 
members of a church subscribed to the paper. The board also proposed 
several options for paying for the paper but cautioned that responsibility 
for collecting money and sending in names of subscribers must be clearly 
and carefully arranged. Carley decided to leave the editorship in 1928 
because of the paper's tight financial situation. 

R. H. Harper was elected to follow Carley as editor of the Advocate. 
He served for two years, and the same problem of low circulation con- 
tinued; this was a rather general malady among all conference papers 
in the denomination. As a result, reports reveal the Advocate managers 
had to borrow $3,500 during the year. The conference agreed to mount 
a drive in local churches from January 18-25 to get new subscribers or 
renewals and to raise the needed funds. 

Following Harper as editor was J. Lloyd Decell, presiding elder on 
the Brookhaven District in the Mississippi Conference, and he tried to 
combine the two jobs, commuting from Brookhaven to New Orleans. This 
proved to be impractical, and after a year he gave it up. A continuing 
debt of $3,000 in the Advocate operation was reported in 1931. 

The next editor was D. B. Raulins, who had been a professor at 
Centenary College from 1920 to 1926 and president of Mansfield College 
from 1926 to 1930. He became pastor at Algiers in New Orleans after 
Mansfield College closed and became editor in 1931 as well as pastor at 

At the 1932 conference session, a "Save the Advocate Campaign" was 
authorized, and Raulins was continued as editor. In that year, the debt 
was reduced from $3,971 to $1,506, and the subscription campaign yielded 
2,600 new and renewal subscriptions. The price of the paper was reduced 
to one dollar per year, and two assistant editors were named— R. E. Smith 
of Centenary College and B.C. Taylor, pastor at Natchitoches. Smith and 
Taylor were in reality what were later called "contributing editors." 

By 1934, however, Raulins returned to the full-time pastorate at Car- 
rollton Avenue in New Orleans. W. L. Duren was the choice as the new 
editor, and he was greeted enthusiastically by a multitude who appre- 
ciated his willingness to undertake the task. Duren had come from 
Mississippi, a graduate of Millsaps College, and had served about twenty 
years as pastor in his native state. He served Rayne Memorial Church 
for six years plus churches in Georgia and Mississippi. He had served 
as presiding elder four times. He had written three books before being 
elected editor and one after that. J. Henry Bowdon, Sr., wrote of him: 

There were few of the illustrious editors of the New Orleans Christian 
Advocate who did as good a job as did Dr. Duren. He was a positive 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 227 

thinker. . . . He never straddled the fence on any matter. He was clear- 
cut and logical in every position he took. Bishops and leaders of the 
church at large sought his advice on many issues which confronted 
the church during his long ministry, and he always gave them helpful 
advice. 51 

Thus four of the five editors in this period were members of the Loui- 
siana Conference at the time they served as editor. Only Harper was a 
native of Louisiana, and he was the only one who did not belong to the 
Mississippi Conference at some time in his career. Decell was a Mississip- 
pian and a life-long member of the Mississippi Conference, except for 
one pastorate in California. He was elected bishop in 1938. 

Others Who Helped Shape Methodism 

In this account, the names of many who helped shape Louisiana 
Methodism have been mentioned. But there were many more than can 
be listed who made significant contributions. Some, however, need to 
be cited as typical of the many who were loyal to God and his church. 

Virgil D. Morris was born in Arkansas and joined the Little Rock Con- 
ference in 1928, and in 1931 was transferred to the Louisiana Conference, 
where he served as pastor and district superintendent (Baton Rouge and 
New Orleans). In 1960, he became executive secretary of the South Cen- 
tral Jurisdiction, serving until 1973 when he retired. He was a delegate 
to General Conference from 1944 to 1960 and to other meetings, such as 
the 1951 Methodist Ecumenical Conference and the 1961 World Methodist 
Conference. He was a trustee of many Methodist institutions, including 
St. Paul School of Theology, the Western Methodist Assembly in Arkan- 
sas, and Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso, as well as some in the con- 
ference. After he retired in 1973, he served as visiting pastor in Australia 
for two years. Altogether, he has had a very fruitful ministry. 

Governor Sam Jones, who took office in 1940, was a Methodist and 
one of the better governors in modern times. He established a civil ser- 
vice system and continued the worthy social measures begun by Huey 
Long. He served for eight years, during which time he improved the pro- 
gram of hot lunches for school children and increased old age pensions. 
When the M. E., South Conference met in Baton Rouge in 1940, Mrs. 
Jones gave a tea for the women of the conference at the Governor's 

John Wesley Edward Bowen, Jr., first served in the ministry as a U. 
S. Chaplain in 1918-19. He came to Louisiana as a pastor in 1929, and 
served in New Orleans and Shreveport. He was editor of the Central Chris- 
Han Advocate from 1944 to 1948, when he was elected bishop. "Strength 
of character, sharpness of intellect, and depth of spiritual fervor combined 

228 Becoming One People 

to make him a positive and forceful preacher; " so reported the Encyclopedia 
of World Methodism. 52 

In this era, Matthew Simpson Davage continued his quiet, effective 
career in the broadest task he had yet undertaken. In 1941, he was asked 
to head the Department of Educational Institutions for Blacks under the 
Board of Education of The Methodist Church in Nashville. This national 
task also involved the promotion of race relations day throughout the 
church. He gave outstanding leadership in this task, and in his ten years 
there the support for black colleges increased tenfold. Significantly, Dr. 
and Mrs. Davage, in all their many different locations (Atlanta, Austin, 
Holly Springs, Mississippi, Nashville), kept their local church member- 
ship in New Orleans and thus were a part of Louisiana Methodism across 
their entire lives. At age ninety-three in 1972 he was still teaching a Bible 
class in his local church. 

William Talbot Handy, Sr., made significant contributions to Loui- 
siana Methodism for many years. Although his career was summarized 
earlier, we add here words of praise found in the January 14, 1937, issue 
of The Southwestern Edition of the Christian Advocate as follows: "By his 
preaching ability, and his gifts of organization, together with his all but 
ceaseless activity, [he] has well been chronicled as one of the five great 
pastors of our Negro Methodism/ 7 

William Schuhle was born in Germany of Roman Catholic parents 
and came to America at the age of eighteen in 1881. Converted in a great 
revival in Arcadia, Louisiana, he decided to go into the ministry and 
studied at Vanderbilt University. He served as pastor and presiding elder, 
was trustee of Centenary College, and served on numerous boards. 53 

Briscoe and Thomas Carter were brothers and each rendered notewor- 
thy service in his ministry. Briscoe rendered outstanding service to 
Centenary College; his conference memoir says Centenary might not have 
survived without his understanding and support. Thomas was an out- 
standing teacher at Centenary College, Tulane University, and Vander- 
bilt University. "He made learning attractive and religion beautiful/ com- 
mented his sister, Mrs. L. C. McVoy. 54 

Mrs. Mary E. Perdue came from the Methodist Protestant Church to 
The Methodist Church at the 1939 Union, and her 1941 memoir is the 
first one of a woman pastor appearing in the Annual of the Louisiana Con- 
ference of the South Central Jurisdiction. She was a native of Shreveport, 
and served the Methodist Protestant Church at Jonesboro, Louisiana as 
pastor for eighteen years. She was also secretary of the M. P. Conference 
for twenty-one years and a delegate to two General Conferences. Other 
women, of course, joined the Methodist Protestant Conference before 1939 
and became members of the Methodist conference at the merger in 1939. 

Robert Henry Wynn's life came to a close in 1934, after a full and fruit- 
ful lifetime of ministry. He began that ministry after five student years 
at Centenary and a year at Vanderbilt. He served as presiding elder, pastor 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 229 

of leading churches, and for six years was president of Centenary Col- 
lege at a critical stage in its history. He was four times a delegate to General 
Conference. He was characterized as a man of simplicity and purity of 
character, of a gentle, loving heart, of conscientious devotion to Christ, 
of a quiet, unblushing courage, and free from self-seeking. 

William Winans Drake attended Centenary College and Vanderbilt 
University. He was pastor at several major cities and towns and presiding 
elder several times. He was a trustee of Centenary College and Southern 
Methodist University, president of the Conference Board of Education, 
and a member of the publishing committee of the Advocate. 

Samuel A. Steel died in this era (1934), but he was very much alive 
before that time. In fact, he himself said that "My mother tells me that 
I was a wee mite of a baby, weighing only three or four pounds, but alive 
all over, active and aggressive, kicking at one end and bawling at the 
other; sensational from the start, having as it were 'an itch for notoriety 
in the cradle. ,,,55 One secret of his vitality was that he continued to study 
and to learn. Thus he was always alert and reaching out to the future. 
He had a long career in the public eye— as pastor, editor, national staff 
executive for the Epworth League, columnist to several papers, and com- 
mentator on the passing scene. 

Some references have been made from time to time to the wives of 
ministers and their contribution to the ministry of the husbands. Many — 
most -ministers would readily approve the judgment that ininisters' wives 
often make the difference between failure and success in a ministerial 
career. They proved to be loyal and capable workers in the churches their 
husbands served, managers of the parsonage households, mother of the 
children in the parsonage, confidant of the husband-pastor, and buffer 
of criticisms directed at the husband-pastor. The memoirs of pastors' wives 
carried in the annual journals are a veritable gold mine, revealing stories 
of loyalty, self-sacrifice, ingenuity in dealing with persons with real or 
imagined grievances or problems, and loyal companionship with loved 

One such pastor's wife, and hundreds could be chosen as examples, 
was Nettie Clarissa Kingsbury (Mrs. Martin) Hebert. Born in Iowa, she 
moved about 1894 to Lake Charles. She taught school for three years, 
then married Martin Hebert. Together they had a fruitful ministry of fifty 
active years. Most of that ministry was spent in the French Mission, but 
they also served elsewhere, which they did with devotion and accom- 
plishments. Her memoir in the conference Journal for 1968 contains these 

She felt the call to serve as partner with her distinguished husband. . . . 
She shared his responsibilities and prayed for him. . . . When he was 
called out at 2:00 o'clock in the morning to the bedside of one who 
was sick, she prayed anxiously until he returned.... When moving 

230 Becoming One People 

time came she bore the chief responsibility.... Many times they 
wondered if they could get by until more money came in.... Thus 
her minister husband's call became her call to work with him. As God 
had called him, He had also called her." 

The wives of the preachers in the New Orleans District organized in 
1933 as a fellowship and support group. Mrs. W. L. Duren, first presi- 
dent, is said to have given the group the name of Parsonettes. Other 
charter members listed in the 1943 yearbook were: Mrs. M. S. Monk, Mrs. 
J. A. Alford, Mrs. H. H. Ahrens, Mrs. Martin Hebert, Mrs. A. T. Law, 
Mrs. D. W. Poole, Mrs. B. F. Rogers, Mrs. F. L. Wells, Mrs. H. N. Har- 
rison, Mrs. W. W. Holmes, Mrs. Virgil D. Morris, Mrs. D. B. Raulins, 
Mrs. J. G. Snelling, and Mrs. J. L. Williams. 

Other districts soon followed suit and organized. For many years the 
meetings were held monthly in homes. But, as more women have taken 
jobs and entered the professions, members have found it more conve- 
nient to meet in connection with preachers' meetings. The Parsonettes 
meet for lunch and a program during each annual conference. There are 
no conference officers; leadership and program responsibilities are rotated 
by district in alphabetical order. 

Moving Toward Union 

During this period, though some M. E., South members were look- 
ing back to "the good old days," progress was made toward union in all 
three major Methodist branches in Louisiana. S. A. Steel, who seemed 
to glory in the role of gadfly, wrote from Louisiana to the Texas Christian 
Advocate for March 18, 1920, that he would "stay with the old Southern 
ship as long as she floats." On the other hand, W. L. Duren, editor of 
the Advocate, proposed in 1934 that the conference invite the M. E. and 
M. P. members and ministers in Louisiana who wished to merge with 
it to do so without waiting further, but no general response was made. 

Since 1916, individual ministers had moved from the other Methodist 
branches to the Louisiana M. E., South, Conference, since it was the 
largest conference. Among the M. P. ministers who changed to the M. 
E., South were Enoch M. Mouser and J. D. Huff. In 1936 W. O. Lynch 
and J. F. Reed, M. P. pastors, visited the M. E., South conference, and 
the latter was invited to speak. In addition, there was an official greeting 
from the M. P. Louisiana Conference by letter from C. A. Calhoun. As 
noted above, the Louisiana Conference, M. E., South had voted in favor 
of union 215 to 10. 

Ministerial delegates to the 1938 M. E., South General Conference 
(where their vote was taken on Union) were W. W. Holmes, Franklin 
N. Parker, H. L. Johns, R. E. Smith, and E. C. Gunn. Among the laity 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 231 

delegates were CO. Holland, R. E. Brumley, Mrs. George S. Sexton, 
Jr., E. L. Walker, and W. B. Clarke. 

Central Jurisdiction a Source of Contention 

The Louisiana M. E. Conference voted as early as 1924 in favor of 
the union of the two episcopal Methodisms, but later disapproved the 
proposal to place black Methodists in a separate Central Jurisdiction. In 
1936 this plan was before the Louisiana M. E. Conference, and the 
members disapproved it by a vote of fifteen for and ninety-eight against. 
This was understandable, for blacks had waited— usually patiently— for 
full equality in state and church. 

There was some opposition to the plan of union in each of the black 
conferences across the nation. At the 1936 General Conference of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, David D. Jones, spoke strongly against the 
plan. Jones was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the younger brother 
of Bishop Robert Elijah Jones, who had served as bishop of the New 
Orleans Area. He reported that on the previous night he had met with 
forty-three other black delegates and thirty-three of them asked him to 
oppose the plan before the conference. 

Matthew S. Davage spoke to the conference following David Jones, 
and said: 

I am for it. The proposed Plan of Unification... is not a perfect 
instrument -and... it does not wholly satisfy the desires of any single 
group. In making our decisions this day we are not called upon to 
agree that the thing proposed is perfect, but to decide whether or 
not this endeavor to bridge the gap between this ultimate ideal and 
the immediately possible reality is a step in the direction of the 
ultimate goal of one fold and one Shepherd.... Already the dawn 
heralding the beginning of a new and better day has appeared, a day 
of enlarged opportunity and of increased responsibility. 56 

The Smaller Uniting Conferences 

The union that came in 1939 was of particular concern to the Methodist 
Protestants, partly because they were the smallest of the three uniting 
denominations and partly because they were going back into relation- 
ship with bishops, which they had eschewed for 109 years. But they had 
seen Louisiana episcopal Methodisms adopt some emphases which they 
had pioneered, and others were in the making. The other two Methodisms 
had size and resources that seemed to be important in the successful 
expansion of the Christian faith. 

Perhaps all of these reasons explain why Enoch M. Mouser left the 
Methodist Protestants and joined the M. E., South Louisiana Conference 

232 Becoming One People 

in 1929. He undoubtedly judged that union was coming. As early as 
January 28, 1920, The Methodist Protestant had an editorial about a pro- 
posed union between the two episcopal Methodist churches, comment- 
ing that, so far as this union might also involve the Methodist Protestants, 
the idea "has a most fascinating appeal. We are [all] Methodists, first, 
last, and all the time/ 7 

When the Louisiana Methodist Protestants met in 1935, and the ques- 
tion was posed about uniting with the other two branches, every delegate 
present voted affirmatively. In 1938 James H. Straughn, president of the 
M. P. General Conference, was present and explained in detail matters 
connected with the union. By the time the conference met in 1939 the 
Uniting Conference involving the three denominations had met, and 
Straughn and John Calvin Broomfield of the former M. P. Church had 
been elected bishops in The Methodist Church. Broomfield spoke encour- 
agingly to the Louisiana Conference about Methodists being "one people." 

The Gulf M. E. Conference in 1924 expressed approval of the pro- 
posed union with the M. E., M. P., and M. E., South, Churches, though 
it was not a definite, agreed-upon plan at that time. Nevertheless, they 
received in 1922 by transfer two pastors from the M. E. Church, South. 
They later merged with the Southern M. E. Conference and came into 
the new church through that channel. 

The Southern M. E. Conference was favorable to the possibility of 
union with the M. E. Church, South. In fact, a dozen years before union 
was achieved, there was some shifting back and forth between pastors 
and even churches. Leaders of the conferences were ambivalent on this; 
in 1929 the conference responded favorably to an overture from the West 
Texas M. E., South Conference (with which they overlapped) to start ex- 
changing local churches where possible. The Southern Conference voted 
that they favored such an exchange and appointed a committee to ex- 
plore the possibility further. But the next year, they received a special 
committee's conclusion that since union was not voted, there was no way 
to start shifting ministers or churches. 

Again, in 1934, the West Texas Conference renewed its offer to start 
exchanging ministers and congregations. The Southern Conference 
appointed a committee to confer with a like group from West Texas Con- 
ference, and some further cooperation resulted. 

Early in the 1930s a number of the Louisiana M. E. Church buildings 
were sold, evidently anticipating the union of the M. E. and the M. E., 
South conferences. This occurred at Vivian, Grand Lake, Oberlin, 
Oakdale, De Ridder, and Rock Hill. 

By 1936 definite progress had been made in agreeing on a plan of 
union that seemed likely to be accepted by all three denominations. Antic- 
ipating favorable action, the Southern M. E. Conference met in Houston 
on November 4-8, 1936, along with the five conferences in Texas of the 
M. E. Church, South. 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 233 

At this meeting the Southern M. E. Conference voted unanimously 
for the proposed union of the three Methodisms, all of the fifty-two 
ministers and all of the fifty-four lay members voting for it. The M. E., 
South conferences were not scheduled to vote until a year later, but they 
were influenced by this unanimous, favorable action. The six conferences 
held a joint ordination service at the final session for thirty deacons and 
twenty-five elders. Bishops Edwin D. Mouzon, H. A. Boaz, Charles L. 
Mead, A. Frank Smith, and John M. Moore participated. It was held in 
the city auditorium, and those present testified that the vast audience 
was held spellbound by the impressiveness of the service. Then, as the 
closing feature, twelve hundred appointments were read, taking one hour 
and twenty minutes. Union was just around the corner. 

The Uniting Conference 

The General Conferences of the M. E. Church and of the M. P. Church 
met separately in May, 1936, and voted overwhelmingly in favor of the 
plan of union. The vote of the former was 470 for and eighty-three against, 
and of the latter, 142 for and thirty-nine against. Then delegates in the 
annual conferences had to vote: M. E. Conferences gave 17,239 in favor 
of the plan and 1,862 against it. M. P. conference voting showed 1,265 
for and 389 against. 

The annual conferences of the M. E. Church, South voted during 1937 
and all of them favored union except the North Mississippi Conference, 
which turned it down with a vote of 125 to 117. At the General Con- 
ference, 434 voted for and twenty-six against, and thus it became official 
for the three denominations. Plans were made for a uniting conference, 
and on April 26, 1939, it met in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Delegates from conferences involving Louisiana Methodists were as 

Southern M. E. Conference: George E. Carter and Robert L. Weldon 
(both serving in Texas). 

Louisiana M. E. Conference: J. W. E. Bowen, Jr., and Matthew S. 

Louisiana M. £., South, Conference: W. W. Holmes, W. L. Duren, H. 
L. Johns, Dana Dawson, Sr., C. O. Holland, T. L. James, Mrs. George 
S. Sexton, Jr., and J. H. Carter. In addition, the General Conference 57 
added Franklin N. Parker and Judge H. H. White. 

Louisiana Methodist Protestant Conference: J. W. Lee and T. L. Johnson. 

Judge White was at the Uniting Conference in a special role. He had 
been on the Commission on Unification since 1916 and made the motion 
at the Uniting Conference on May 10, 1939, to adopt as a whole the plan 
of union. He did so in these words: "I consider it a high privilege and 
honor to move that the Declaration of Union, which has been adopted 

234 Becoming One People 

section by section, be now adopted as a whole" -and it was so voted. 
Bishop John M. Moore called this conference, which created The 
Methodist Church the greatest conference ever held in American 
Methodism. 58 

The Methodist conferences involving Louisiana members wound up 
their affairs and prepared to unite on November 16, 1939, at Trinity 
Methodist Church in Ruston at 10:30 A. M. One large segment of Loui- 
siana Methodism was not involved, however. The Louisiana Conference 
of the former M. E. Church was to be a part of the Central rather than 
a part of the South Central Jurisdiction. 

As we noted earlier, the uniting churches were not yet ready to 
include black conferences in the same jurisdictions with white con- 
ferences. 59 Thus black Methodists in Louisiana were conspicuous by their 
absence; they continued in their own conference. It was the considered 
judgment— right or wrong— that the time was not yet for black and white 
Methodists (chiefly in the South) to unite in the same annual conferences. 
But there were many exceptions to this attitude -even in the South. 
Methodist youth groups were pioneering on this issue, and many 
Methodist women were ready to drop the race barrier. But leaders feared 
that pushing integration at that time would be self-defeating and would 
delay its being accepted in the spirit of brotherhood. Time and the Spirit 
of God were at work, and gradually change came. 

"This Momentous Hour" 

'The Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, South Central 
Jurisdiction, convened in first session... at 10:30 A.M., Thursday, 
November 16, 1939, Bishop A. Frank Smith in the chair/' So reads the 
Journal of that first session. The first action was to hear the proclamation 
by Judge H. H. White, a lay member of the conference. He proclaimed 
that this was the uniting session for (1) the Louisiana Conference of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South; (2) the Louisiana part of the Southern 
M. E. Conference; and (3) the churches in Louisiana of the Methodist 
Protestant Church, in order to create the Louisiana Conference of the 
South Central Jurisdiction of the The Methodist Church. He called the 
occasion "this momentous hour/' 60 

Louisiana Conference, South Central Jurisdiction 

The Methodist Church 

This new enlarged Louisiana Conference had seven districts: Alex- 
andria, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, Monroe, New Orleans, Ruston, and 

Bringing Methodists Back Together 235 

Shreveport. The M. E. Church brought to the new conference eighteen 
ministers— all men; Methodist Protestants brought forty-one ministers— 
eight women and thirty-three men; the M. E. Church, South brought 186 
ministers -all men. M. E. lay members totaled 3,278; M. P., 3,539; and 
M. E., South 70,787. M. E. congregations had seventeen church buildings 
valued at $199,600 and thirteen parsonages valued at $35,300. Methodist 
Protestants had forty-eight church buildings valued at $63,750 and ten 
parsonages valued at $16,500. The M. E., South had 377 church buildings 
valued at $4,159,586 and 150 parsonages valued at $577,242. 

Institutions of the new conference were chiefly those that came in 
from the former M. E. Church, South: Centenary College, Louisiana 
Methodist Orphanage (Ruston) and Memorial Mercy Home (New 
Orleans). Good Samaritan Home at Monroe came from the Methodist 
Protestant Conference. Total money contributed in the previous year 
(1938-39) by all the uniting local churches was $924,430. 

The conference elected delegates to the 1940 General Conference. 
Unless otherwise indicated, delegates were former M. E., South members. 
As clerical delegates they chose W. W. Holmes, R. H. Harper, Franklin 
N. Parker, J. W. Lee (M. P.), Guy M. Hicks, W. H. Bengston (M. E.), 
Elmer C. Gunn, and D. B. Raulins. Lay delegates elected were H. H. 
White, CO. Holland, Mrs. George S. Sexton, Jr., T. L. James, E. L. 
Walker, T. L. Johnson (M. P.), E. C. Willard (M. E.), and J. C. Nichols. 

Probably all who attended this annual conference went back to their 
churches and communities taking to heart these admonitions made in 

The Church cannot be the Church unless the Bible is a direct factor 
in the life of every member.... It is imperative for humanity that the 
character-making power of the Bible be given a chance to mold the 
lives of multitudes beyond as well as within the church. . . . We rejoice 
in the new day for missions... and the building of God's Kingdom 
through a united Methodism. We urge a larger missionary empha- 
sis... in every department of the church, making of each a truly 
missionary-minded group. 61 

Members of the M. E. Church, South probably also had a twinge of 
nostalgia for what one member called in his resolutions of appreciation 
"the last and best conference of the old deep South.../ 7 62 

Black Methodists also were more hopeful about their eventual place 
in church and society. Bishop Robert Elijah Jones, resident bishop of the 
M. E. New Orleans Area, gave an optimistic report to the General Con- 
ference of 1936. He first painted a picture of the difficulties of blacks in 
general: a monthly average income for a family of five of $1.75 per 
person— "scarcely enough food, raiment and shelter to keep soul and body 
alive.... The debts of St. Paul, Shreveport; Haven, New Orleans; and La 
Harpe, New Orleans are still very embarrassing. . . . [But there is also] the 

236 Becoming One People 

growth of better race relations in the deep South. . . . There are high signs 
of growth and a better day to be seen on every hand/' 63 


"The Best of Times; the Worst of Times" 

1942 — 1965 

.Methodists in Louisiana in the era 1942 to 1965 had to con- 
tend with world shaking events and numerous unsettling conditions and 
trends. First was World War II and the involvement of the United States 
and its citizens in it. Then came charges from high places that Methodist 
pulpits and literature expressed communistic viewpoints, encouraging 
numerous people in their tendency to see a communist "behind every 
bush" (and in some pulpits!). Black citizens demanded more freedom, 
which was often tantamount to demanding rights guaranteed them by 
the Constitution. The trend toward a less rigid theological stance caused 
concern among some Methodists and led later to the organization of the 
Forum for Scriptural Christianity among United Methodists, popularly 
called the "Good News Movement." 

Yet, withal, it was a time of broadening Christian understanding and 
cooperation. A Methodist bishop, G. Bromley Oxnam, was president of 
the Federal Council of Churches (1944-46), and he was one of the 
presidents of the World Council of Churches (1948-54). There were 
Methodists among the leaders later when the Federal Council was restruc- 
tured as the National Council of Churches. 

It was also a time of better qualified clergymen; almost all new pastors 
earned professional theological degrees and had a well-rounded concept 
of ministry and of the pastor's role. Of course, sometimes a new seminary 
graduate tried to show off his learning. One local church history records 
that a pastor's sermons were "intellectual and modernistic... not 
evangelistic or fundamentally based on the New Testament." 

Jurisdictional and General Conference Actions 

The Jurisdictional Conference had a decided effect on Louisiana 
Methodism from quadrennium to quadrennium. First, they elected and 
assigned the bishop who would serve the conference. They also set objec- 
tives and goals for the conferences in the jurisdiction and nominated 
members to general boards of the church. 



Becoming One People 

Courtesy Shreveport Journal Journal Photo 

Following election and consecration service in El Paso, Texas, Bishop Dana 
Dawson and family arrived in Shreveport on June 30, 1948. They are being greeted 
at the train depot by members of the First Methodist Church, left to right: R. H. 
Nelson, D. L. Dykes, Jr., Dana Dawson, Jr., Bishop and Mrs. Dawson, and J. 
R. Russell. 

The Louisiana Conference and the South Central Jurisdiction 1 

At the first meeting of the South Central Jurisdictional Conference 
in 1940, R. H. Harper was elected one of the assistant secretaries. All Loui- 
siana delegates were assigned to one or more of the committees of the 
conference. W. W. Holmes was named to the appeals committee, J. W. 
Bailey of New Orleans was named a lay member of the General Board 
of Publication, and CO. Holland of Shreveport was designated by the 
Board of Lay Activities to serve on the coordinating committee. Bishop 
A. Frank Smith of Houston, who had been holding the Louisiana Con- 
ference for the last several years, was assigned again for the new quadren- 
nium. Members of various committees of the Jurisdiction in these early 
years included Lewis N. Stuckey, Mrs. George S. Sexton, Jr., Virgil D. 
Morris, Judge E. L. Walker, Mrs. Wiltz Ledbetter, Gwen Peck, Floyd B. 
James, H. L. Johns, Joe J. Mickle, and Guy M. Hicks. 

'The Best of Times; the Worst of Times" 239 

At the 1944 Jurisdictional Conference, the Louisiana Conference was 
attached to a new area named Arkansas-Louisiana, and one of the new 
bishops, Paul E. Martin, was assigned to it, with headquarters in Little 
Rock. Thus began the sixteen-year relationship of Bishop Martin and Loui- 
siana Methodists. At the 1948 Conference, Dana Dawson, who had served 
First Church, Shreveport for fourteen years was elected bishop. His son, 
Dana Dawson, Jr., was then pastor of Munholland Memorial Church in 
New Orleans. He is still a member of the Louisiana Conference and lives 
in Baton Rouge. 

When the Louisiana Conference delegates got to the 1952 Jurisdic- 
tional Conference in Wichita, Kansas they were greeted by their former 
colleague and now their host, Bishop Dawson. The Daily Christian 
Advocate, which was edited by Walter N. Vernon, who has among his 
ancestors Methodists from Louisiana, reported that twenty-two Louisiana 
students were enrolled in Perkins School of Theology. Louisiana 
Methodists participating in that conference included J. C. Love, H. L. 
Johns, Guy M. Hicks, R. M. Bentley, Floyd B. James, and Joe J. Mickle. 

In 1956, the jurisdictional conference met in New Orleans, using the 
municipal auditorium for business sessions. Bishop Paul E. Martin pre- 
sided at the opening session on June 28. Virgil D. Morris, host district 
superintendent, brought greetings to the delegates in the first issue of 
The Daily Christian Advocate, and John Winn, pastor in New Orleans, pro- 
vided a sketch of New Orleans Methodism. 

Local chairpersons of committees arranging for the jurisdictional con- 
ference were Virgil D. Morris, General Chairman; N. H. Melbert, Vice- 
Chairman; and Spencer Wren, Luman E. Douglas, Mrs. C. I. Jones, E. 
J. Barksdale, J. W. Matthews, G. R. Messer, Mrs. Robert French, A. M. 
Serex, R. H. Jamieson, Mrs. Arlene C. Hawkins, C. C. Frazier, Jr., John 
Winn, Edgar E. Cayard, and D. W. Poole. 

During the conference, several Louisiana Methodists were named 
members to general boards and agencies, including Joe J. Mickle and 
William E. Trice. Bishop Willis J. King of the New Orleans Area, Central 
Jurisdiction, was the speaker at one of the morning devotionals, and dur- 
ing one session Bishop Paul E. Martin introduced several visitors from 
the Central Jurisdiction. The Daily Advocate reported that Mrs. Paul E. 
Martin had been elected at the recent General Conference as president 
of the bishops' wives' organization. Mrs. C.I. Jones of New Orleans gave 
a tea for delegates and visitors. 

Other Louisiana Methodists who were prominent in the conference 
included O. Eugene Slater (native of Louisiana, though serving in Texas), 
Mrs. A.M. Serex, Bentley Sloane, Jolly B. Harper, Mrs. Glenn E. Laskey, 
James T. Harris, Carl F. Lueg, B. C. Taylor, Sam Nader, Robert P. Lay, 
J. C. Love, and Floyd B. James. 

240 Becoming One People 

Bishop W. Angie Smith, former pastor at First Church, Shreveport, 
delivered the episcopal message. Since racial matters were prominent in 
church and society at that time, he made several references to that aspect 
of Methodist polity and asserted that 

changes and adjustments must be made to meet the demands of a 
new day and to fulfill the laws of God and man.... All men are 
Brothers loved by a Father God without distinction as to race or 
color. . . . So-called segregation is not the child of union nor is it the 
product of any one section of our nation or of the world. Every race 
and every color is guilty before the eyes of God for some form of 

In 1960 Bishop Paul E. Martin of Louisiana and Arkansas Methodism 
gave the episcopal message at the Jurisdictional Conference in San 
Antonio. He frankly acknowledged the tensions that existed in race rela- 
tions and reinforced Bishop Smith's 1952 emphasis: "The Christian must 
abhor violence, condemn hatred, respect the law, and acknowledge the 
dignity of all people. It is our obligation to help create an atmosphere 
in which there can be an orderly and just resolution of the differences 
that divide men." 2 

The 1960 jurisdictional conference elected three new bishops, one of 
whom was Oliver Eugene Slater, born and raised in Sibley, Louisiana. 
Shortly after he was elected, his mother, Mrs. O. T. Slater, member of 
the Sibley Methodist Church, told how her son had announced to his 
family shortly after he finished high school that he felt he had been called 
to the ministry and that he was going to put everything he had into it. 3 

Bishop Paul E. Martin was assigned to serve in the Houston Area, 
and Bishop Aubrey G. Walton became leader of the new Louisiana Area. 
The new area consisted of the Louisiana Conference, South Central 
Jurisdiction, plus visitation in Central America. The other Louisiana Con- 
ference, a part of the Central Jurisdiction until 1969, was in the New 
Orleans Area. 

Judge John A. Dixon, who headed the 1960 General Conference lay 
delegation of the Louisiana Conference, South Central Jurisdiction, 
reported later to the annual conference his reflections on the General Con- 
ference. He affirmed that there was "no institution as large as the 
Methodist Church anywhere that has a more democratic system written 
into its laws." But he had questions about combining the two Louisiana 
Conferences of the two Jurisdictions. He offered the following proposal: 

The people of the southern annual conferences should move in this 
next quadrennium toward the abolition of the Central Jurisdiction, 
adding the annual conferences of the Central Jurisdiction in the South 
to the Northeast, North Central, and Western Jurisdictions of The 
Methodist Church to which the churches in the Central Jurisdiction 

'The Best of Times; the Worst of Times" 241 

were originally and historically connected.... 

If the annual conferences of the Central Jurisdiction are joined 
to the other white regional jurisdictions (not ours), it will mean that 
in Louisiana the white annual conferences will continue white and 
the colored annual conferences will continue colored. 

Judge Dixon closed his statement with the following admonition: 

I want to urge the laymen in this conference to help their laymen at 
home furnish living examples to the community for forbearance, 
understanding, and self-control. And let us never fear free and open 
discussion. Let us demonstrate by the way we meet these issues. . .our 
ultimate and practical faith in the teachings of Jesus and our belief 
in the ultimate success of the democratic process. 4 

More recently Judge Dixon, who is now the Chief Justice of the 
Supreme Court of Louisiana, looked back on events of the 1960s and 

The momentum to eliminate what people recognized as efforts of legal 
segregation in The Methodist Church was so great it couldn't be 
stopped.... Legal segregation was certainly wrong and should have 
been eliminated. I have been pleasantly surprised that the transition 
to a racially integrated society that I have been able to observe in New 
Orleans has been much more successful than I might have anticipated. 
Many problems remain, and we must guard against bias and 
discrimination of any kind. 5 

The 1964 South Central Jurisdictional Conference, held in Dallas, was 
unusually meaningful to Louisiana delegates. Memorial services were held 
for Bishops Dana Dawson and A. Frank Smith, who had died during the 
quadrennium. In addition, they were thrice welcomed by host pastor, 
Robert E. Goodrich, Jr., who had lived in Shreveport and attended 
Centenary College; by Virgil D. Morris who had in 1960 begun serving 
as executive secretary of the Jurisdiction in Oklahoma City; and by William 
E. Trice, pastor in Dallas and chairman of the committee on agenda and 

Delegates were also quite interested in a report appearing on July 2 
in the South Central Daily Christian Advocate that the Washington and 
Delaware Conferences and Bishop Prince A. Taylor, Jr., of the Central 
Jurisdiction had been transferred to the Northeastern Jurisdiction. This 
was the first such merging of any Central Jurisdiction conference and 
bishop with one of the geographical jurisdictions. South Central delegates 
were vitally interested in the merger of Central Jurisdiction conferences, 
for soon they would be involved in a similar action which Bishop Eugene 
Frank, in speaking to the South Central delegates, called "another great 
adventure in inclusion and fellowship/ 7 "We pledge ourselves," he 

242 Becoming One People 

continued, "to reach out in Christian love to our fellow Methodists of 
the Central Jurisdiction living within our boundaries/' 6 

Louisiana delegates were also quite pleased that Bishop O. Eugene 
Slater, the first native of Louisiana in recent times to be chosen for the 
episcopacy (in 1960), preached the sermon at the consecration of the new 
bishop, W. McFerrin Stowe, elected that year. 

Central Jurisdiction, Louisiana Conference 

Central Jurisdiction leaders, thinking that their jurisdiction would be 
only a temporary feature, did not use it as a program-planning agency, 
as did both the South Central and Southeastern jurisdictions. The first 
Central Jurisdictional Conference, held in 1940, elected as bishop W. A. 
C. Hughes of the Washington Conference and assigned him to the New 
Orleans Area. He had been a pastor, district superintendent, and secretary 
for "Negro work" on the Board of Home Missions and Church Exten- 
sion. After only nineteen days as a bishop, he died. The rest of the 
quadrennium, Bishop Robert Elijah Jones, a familiar figure in Louisiana, 
supervised the area. 

At the 1944 conference, held at Bennett College, Greensboro, North 
Carolina, Bishop Alexander P. Shaw reiterated in the episcopal message 
the conviction that was general among black Methodists. "We accept the 
setting apart of a Central Jurisdiction only as an administrative arrange- 
ment for the Negro membership. . . . We are hopeful that in the near future 
our Methodism may become sufficiently Christian in character and matu- 
rity to find a more excellent way." 7 

The conference elected three bishops: Willis J. King, Robert N. Brooks, 
and Edward P. Kelly. Brooks, assigned to the New Orleans Area, was 
already well known there. He had been the editor of the Central Christian 
Advocate, the paper for black Methodists since 1936. 

The 1948 Central Jurisdictional Conference was held in the M. S. 
Davage Auditorium at Clark College, Atlanta. Bishop Brooks gave the 
episcopal address, emphasizing the need for the Methodists to support 
every moral reform. The conference elected one bishop, J. W. E. Bo wen, 
Jr., who had been editor of the Central Christian Advocate in New Orleans 
since 1944. Bishop Brooks was returned to New Orleans as presiding 

The 1952 jurisdictional conference was held in a famous church— 
Tindley Temple -in Philadelphia. Bishop J. W. E. Bo wen, Jr., gave the 
episcopal message emphasizing that race relations would not really be 
solved until they were solved on the local level. Two new bishops were 
elected: Edgar A. Love and Matthew W. Clair, Jr. Mary McLeod Bethune 
was presented; she was one of the highly respected educational leaders 
in The Methodist Church. Marian Anderson, noted singer, was presented 

'The Best of Times; the Worst of Times" 243 

in concert. Bishop Brooks was returned to the New Orleans Area, but 
died in 1953. The area was then reorganized, and Willis J. King served 
Louisiana in addition to the two Mississippi Conferences. 

New Orleans was the location of the 1956 Central Jurisdictional Con- 
ference, and Dillard University was the place. George W. Carter, Jr., of 
the Louisiana Conference was elected secretary. Memorial services were 
held for Bishop Brooks and Mary McLeod Bethune. Bishop King gave 
the episcopal message, emphasizing that the 1956 General Conference 
opened the way for phasing out the Central Jurisdiction. Prince A. Taylor, 
Jr., was elected bishop at the conference; he was well known in New 
Orleans, having taught some of the young ministers from Louisiana at 
Gammon Seminary and having been editor of the Central Christian 
Advocate from 1948 to 1956. Bishop King was continued as bishop for the 
Central Jurisdiction's Louisiana Conference. 

At the 1960 Louisiana Conference, Central Jurisdiction, George W. 
Carter, Jr., was reelected secretary. Bishop Robert Elijah Jones, who was 
one of the two bishops elected in 1920 to serve in the United States and 
who had served helpfully in the negotiations for the union of 1939, had 
recently died and was memorialized. Bishop Noah W. Moore was 
assigned to succeed him in the New Orleans Area. Bishop Moore was 
a capable bishop, who gave good leadership and worked well with others. 

In 1964 the jurisdictional conference assessed the possibilities of merg- 
ing with the white conferences and making their conference boundaries 
coterminous with those of the white conferences. Louisiana Methodists 
saw no difficulty concerning boundaries, since each conference in Loui- 
siana included the entire state. The memory of Bishop J. W. E. Bo wen, 
Jr., was honored during the session. Bishop Noah W. Moore was reas- 
signed to the Louisiana Conference for 1964-68, although Bishop Charles 
F. Golden held the 1966 session of the Louisiana Conference. 

Actions in the Louisiana Conference, 
South Central Jurisdiction 

World War II 

By 1943 twenty-two ministers of the Louisiana Conference, South 
Central Jurisdiction were chaplains in the U. S. Army and Navy. Local 
churches were affected by the war effort. Churches near training camps 
provided service men opportunities for worship, meals, fellowship, and 
recreation. Letters were sent regularly from some churches to their 
members in the service. 

First Church, Alexandria, was one of those active in ministering to 
service men. They worked with other churches in providing food, 

244 Becoming One People 

canteens, and fellowship for lonely soldiers. Churches in Sabine Parish 
were especially called on, for 500,000 men converged on that area during 
August and September, 1941, to hold "war games." In overseas fighting, 
many men (and some women) from Louisiana were casualties, and 
churches ministered to those who mourned. 

In some cases, new churches were organized in cities, such as Baton 
Rouge, because members could not get the gasoline to drive to the larger, 
far-away churches. Sometimes laymen were called on to fill pulpits 
because of the number of pastors in the army chaplaincy. 

First Church, Alexandria capitalized on a special opportunity that 
came from a nearby military camp. Church members learned that a group 
of Hollywood filmmakers were stationed at Camp Livingston to help train 
military personnel. Members of the church approached the commanding 
general with a training idea, and he readily agreed. His men with the 
help of the professional filmmakers would make a Christmas motion pic- 
ture as a training experience for his men. The film was on the "Nativity." 
Many church members cooperated. B. C. Taylor, the pastor, and W. T. 
Murry, chairman of the board of stewards, gave their support. The pic- 
ture was a success and was shown to thousands of soldiers in several 
camps around Alexandria. Then the U. S. O. sent the film to its head- 
quarters in New York, and they used it widely as meaningful entertain- 
ment for military personnel in the East. The making of this film was a 
fine experience for church members. They had worked hard together on 
a worthwhile project and had produced something important. 8 

The Louisiana Conference met at First Methodist Church in New 
Orleans in mid-November, 1942. Host pastor N. H. Melbert had been 
there one year of his nineteen-year pastorate. The conference was con- 
cerned with several phases of World War II in its sessions. A year earlier 
several members of the conference were appointed to serve as chaplains 
in the armed services, and since that time the United States had entered 
World War II. Several chaplains were attending this session and were 
recognized and asked to report on their work. Presiding Bishop A. Frank 
Smith reported that Methodists had met sixty percent of their quota of 
chaplains. At the close of the session, eight were appointed to the Army 
and one to the Navy. In addition, several churches were already starting 
to minister to the camps near them. 

The Conference Committee on Peace reported that the church must 
be ready at the close of the war to use its influence to create a just and 
durable peace. The conference in 1943 appointed six chaplains to the Navy 
and sixteen to the Army. Six chaplains were present. Bishop Smith 
reported that the Houston Area, to which he was assigned, and of which 
Louisiana was a part, had furnished more chaplains than any other area 
of the church. 

After the war several churches found the U. S. Army had surplus 
chapels and other buildings for sale, and some Methodist congregations 

'The Best of Times; the Worst of Times" 245 

bought them to expand their facilities. Davidson Memorial in Lafayette 
was one of these; another was Ingleside Church in Baton Rouge. 

Burglars broke into First Church, New Orleans, in 1955, rifling the 
contents of the office, setting a fire (possibly accidentally) and burning 
a manuscript N. H. Melbert had been working on for thirty-eight years 
on the story of the Bible. The fire caused the uniting of First Church and 
Canal Street Church. The combined congregations met at Canal Street 
church until the new First Church building was completed. 

In 1906 the First Church building had been erected as Carondolet 
Church. It had an unusual type of architecture, being a replica of a monk's 
refectory (where meals were served) in Salamanca, Spain. The old site 
of First Church had already been designated as the approach for a freeway 
leading to a new bridge over the Mississippi River. The new building was 
Georgian in style and cost $1,300,000. It would seat 600 in worship ser- 
vices and 800 in church school. 

In 1943 there were three part-time hospital chaplains related to the 
conference and two full-time ones. In addition, there were twenty-three 
ministers in the chaplaincy of the armed services. In these years Golden 
Cross offerings were asked from each church, to be used for expenses 
of these chaplains. 

Chaplains who served at hospitals included, in various years, Mar- 
tin Hebert, A. B. Cavanaugh, Maurice Fulkerson, S. L. Stockwell, R. T. 
Ware, Roland W. Faulk, Rex Squyres, Lea Joyner, Don Risinger, E. L. 
Brock, Don Weininger, Ira A. Love, J. T. Redmon, M. D. Felder, T. O. 
Carlstrom, and B. D. Watson. The following were among those who 
served in the chaplaincy of the armed services: L. R. Nease, Oakley Lee, 
J. E. Reaves, Maurice Fulkerson, Lucien E. Larche, Jr., Howard D. Ellzey, 
Forest N. Blount, William G. Willson, and George Pearce, Jr. 

There was concern in 1946 over the failure of some churches to grow 
and carry on their programs. Reports in 1945 revealed that 167 churches 
(out of 442 in the conference) had not received a single member on pro- 
fession of faith that year. Twenty-eight churches did not contribute to 
world service askings, eighty churches had no church school, and eight- 
een churches did not pay their pastors' salaries in full. 

An Anniversary and Other Recognitions 

The 1946 session of the conference was the 101st session since 
organization. An adjourned session was held at Opelousas on January 
6, 1947, to celebrate the centennial of the first conference held there. Five 
or six hundred persons were in attendance, not all of whom could get 
into the church. Some had to stand during the service. Bishop and Mrs. 
Martin and others were dressed in the fashion of the earlier conference. 
The first and closing days of the 1847 conference were reenacted, with 
Bishop Martin playing the role of Bishop Joshua Soule. Mrs. Martin, as 

246 Becoming One People 

Mrs. Soule, spoke briefly. A. A. Collins, pastor of the Opelousas 
Methodist Church, was presented. Bishop Martin announced a plan to 
erect a centennial church in Opelousas, for which already $21,000 had 
been raised locally. A letter of greeting from President Harry S. Truman 
was read. Ralph Stoody, director of Methodist information, and E. M. 
Lazenby of The Christian Advocate staff were among the visitors. 

In 1950 the Centenary College choir was recognized in the Conference 
Journal for being invited for five consecutive years to sing at the Lions 7 
International convention -in such cities as San Francisco, New York, and 

By 1951 Bishop and Mrs. Martin had won the hearts and love of Loui- 
siana Methodists, and the conference in that year adopted this resolution: 

The gracious manner in which Bishop Martin presides over our 
business sessions, his complete attention to each of us and to the 
smallest detail, his patience in dealing with every issue, his concern 
for every individual, his fairness and good judgement, delightfully 
dispensed with sparkling humor, have made our extended business 
sessions a rewarding experience of accomplishment. Mrs. Martin, by 
her ability to remember us and our concerns and by her thoughtful 
remembrance of our families, has further endeared herself in our 

W. E. Trice, A. W. Townsend, Jr., 

Carl Lueg, Mrs. Glenn E. Laskey 9 

Walter N. Vernon of the General Board of Education staff presented 
to Bishop Paul E. Martin at the 1955 session of the Louisiana Conference 
an original drawing of the bishop that had been used on the cover of the 
national Methodist magazine, The Church School. 

Compensation and Care for Full-Time Workers 

In the Louisiana Conference, South Central Jurisdiction, a married 
minister in 1945 was to receive $1,800 and a single minister, $1,500. No 
minister was to receive over $300 supplement to his salary, and this was 
restricted to full-time pastors. In 1951 the conference encouraged local 
churches to provide up to $600 as a pastor's expenses for his travel in 
serving the church. Of course, parsonages were a standard provision in 
all churches, or a rental allowance for housing. Pastors were encouraged 
to participate in a conference insurance plan that provided both 
hospitalization and life insurance. A pension plan paid each retired 
minister on the basis of the years he served and provided a pension for 
widows of ministers. 

By 1964 the minimum salary schedule had reached $2,400 for a stu- 
dent pastor without dependents, $3,000 for a married student pastor not 
living on the charge, $3,300 for a full-time pastor without dependents, 

'The Best of Times; the Worst of Times" 247 

$3,600 for a married student pastor living on the charge, and $3,900 for 
a married full-time pastor living on the charge. 

Pensions for ministers were gradually increasing from year to year. 
In 1948 the Board of Conference Claimants reported it hoped soon to be 
able to pay retired ministers on the basis of $25 for each of the years served 
in the conference. By 1951 the Board announced it would pay $38 per 
service year, one dollar more than the disciplinary requirement. By 1966 
it had reached the figure of $65 per service year. 

Also in 1964 the residence for the "chief pastor" -otherwise known 
as the bishop -was provided. It was a lovely, comfortable new residence 
at 4002 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans. Total cost was slightly over 
$90,000. Almost without exception, every appointment maintained a par- 
sonage for the pastor and his family. 

A number of homes in the latter part of this period across the con- 
ference became available for use by retirees or their widows. In 1953 three 
members of the Louisiana Conference presented a resolution that the con- 
ference engage in a long-term project to provide conference-owned homes 
for retired ministers. The three were James B. Grambling, R. Leonard 
Cooke, and Bentley Sloane; they proposed Floyd B. James as the person 
to take the first step by accepting for the new project a lot in Ruston. The 
first project was to build a duplex on the Ruston location; the first year's 
offering from churches was nearly $3,000. 

When the conference met in 1956, the Ruston home had been vir- 
tually finished. The goal was to build a home in each district each year- 
as money was available. By 1960 the leaders had raised over $100,000 and 
were ready to build the sixth home. By 1966, when James B. Grambling 
retired, there were twelve houses or apartments occupied by retired 
ministerial couples or widows. 

Relations Between the Races 

The 1950s were years of turmoil and differences of opinion in society 
regarding race relations. In 1954 the Supreme Court ruled that blacks must 
be admitted to public schools on a racially nondiscriminatory basis with 
all deliberate speed. In June of that year Benjamin R. Oliphint, chairman 
of the Conference Board of Social and Economic Relations, reported the 
board's affirmation of the Supreme Court ruling and called for Methodists 
to support it. The report affirmed: 

We feel that this decision is consistent with and supports the view 
of the General Conference of The Methodist Church.... We call upon 
the members of our Methodist churches to become a stabilizing emo- 
tional factor in our own communities.... We call upon the governor, 
the members of the State legislature, the public school authorities, 
and our people to explore and to pursue ways and means of 

248 Becoming One People 

implementing this... decision which will preserve interracial good will, 
domestic order, and the inalienable rights of all free men." 10 

Speaking to the section of the report quoted above were H. P. Wall, 
Benjamin R. Oliphint, Spencer Wren, and Mrs. Glenn Laskey. This sec- 
tion was approved after considerable discussion. 

In 1955 the conference adopted a statement from the Board of Social 
and Economic Relations that "God calls us to love all mankind as brothers 
regardless of race." Three years later the report from the same Board 
criticized proposed legislation to abolish the public schools in Louisiana, 
and to make them private institutions, presumably to avoid integration 
in the schools. In 1962 the board urged Louisiana Methodists of both the 
Central and South Central Jurisdictions to face together the implications 
of race relations in the church. The next year they called for the promo- 
tion of understanding, reconciliation, goodwill, and the removal of racial 

Outside the conference sessions, however, some Louisiana 
Methodists had to deal with many persons who did not share their view- 
point. One district superintendent in the midsixties reported that one 
morning when he was driving to an appointment he counted eighteen 
smoldering crosses attached to fence posts along the highway. The Klan, 
he realized, had met in a big session the night before. 

The Ku Klux Klan threatened one Methodist pastor in the same district 
who had been friendly with a black Methodist pastor of a nearby church 
and had preached in one of the black Methodist churches. His critics 
threatened to burn down his parsonage, so he moved out of the house. 
One critical layman called the district superintendent to come see some 
"communist" literature on the back porch of this preacher's parsonage. 
On investigation it turned out to be a stack of Sunday issues of the New 
York Times. 

Other Issues: Gambling, Intemperance. 

The Louisiana Conference Board of Temperance proposed an unu- 
sually comprehensive statement on moral and civic problems in 1945. It 
dealt with such issues as war and peace, divorce and broken homes, 
citizenship, the influence of bad movies, women working in night clubs 
and road houses, voting for proper laws and law-makers, dangers in 
gambling (including horse racing), and the use of beverage alcohol and 
habit-forming narcotic drugs. The report commended the work of the 
Louisiana Moral and Civic Foundation, which the conference has regularly 
supported for years. 

The conference consistently dealt with emergent -and ongoing -social 
issues, and made its concern felt regarding such issues from time to time. 
Conference sessions called on the state legislature periodically to oppose 

'The Best of Times; the Worst of Times" 249 

gambling, to control the sale of beverage alcohol, to remove restrictions 
based solely on race, and to consider other such concerns. 

In 1955 the conference adopted a strong resolution against gambling, 
citing the Louisiana Constitution which stated, "Gambling is a vice and 
the legislature shall pass laws to suppress it." They called on the legislature 
to abolish the wagering on horse races, which at that time were permit- 
ted under the laws of the state. They appealed to all citizens in calling 
for fair treatment of blacks in political and economic matters and for a 
spirit of brotherhood in church relations. They expressed disapproval of 
extremist pressure groups, presumably meaning groups such as the Ku 

Louisiana Methodists also did more than pass resolutions. They had 
Caradine Hooten of the General Board of Temperance teach courses in 
their pastors' school in 1955 on ways of promoting abstinence. The con- 
ference continued its efforts to educate youth regarding the use of intox- 
icating beverages and the promotion of Christian race relations. 

Subversives in Methodism? 

Many Methodists in Louisiana were disturbed by Senator Joseph 
McCarthy's charges in the mid-1950s that one of Methodism's most prom- 
inent bishops, G. Bromley Oxnam of Washington, was "soft" on com- 
munism. Murray H. Leiffer described the event: 

Bishop Oxnam demanded a hearing before the House Un-American 
Activities Committee to clear the record. In this he had the unanimous 
support of the Council of Bishops and the legal assistance of Charles 
C. Parlin, one of Methodism's leading laymen. The hearing itself, a 
fatiguing session lasting from two o'clock until midnight, July 21, 1953, 
was televised across the nation. There was no formal withdrawal of 
charges made by the chairman of the committee. Nevertheless, the 
thinness of the evidence and the unfairness of the inquisitorial tech- 
niques used resulted in broad public support for the bishop. In fact, 
this "trial" at least temporarily diminished public respect for the com- 
mittee. The brilliant defense of the rights of the individual citizen to 
security from unsubstantiated accusations and star-chamber trials was 
subsequently set forth in Bishop Oxnam's book I Protest. While 
undoubtedly many Methodists were deeply disturbed by the charges 
and the subsequent hearing, the church as a whole maintained full 
confidence in Bishop Oxnam and found satisfaction in his courageous 
stand. 11 

This issue also hit closer home. At the 1961 annual conference, a 
resolution was adopted requesting Bishop Aubrey G. Walton to appoint 
a committee to consider criticisms of (1) the National Council of Churches, 
(2) the church school curriculum resources, (3) some of the church 

250 Becoming One People 

periodicals and magazines, and (4) some recommendations concerning 
social life and work. Before the committee could make very much prog- 
ress, a booklet of fifty-six pages entitled Subversive Influences in Methodism 
was issued by a group of twenty men in First Methodist Church, 
Shreveport. The name of Dalton J. Woods is displayed in such a way as 
to suggest his chairmanship of the project. Twelve of the men were listed 
as trustees or members of the official board of the church, and six were 
listed as attorneys. Its chief target was Concern, a publication of the 
Methodist Board of Christian Social Concerns. 

The booklet charged that the board "is attempting to advance the 
cause of worldwide socialism. . .and is either an apologist for, or is in sym- 
pathy with, communist views and objectives in world politics" (page 7). 
All the quotations given and criticized in the booklet (except one) were 
taken from Concern magazine. 

The conference committee held seven meetings, and several of them 
were with national executives of boards of the church. Henry M. Bullock, 
editor of church school publications, and his administrative associate, 
Walter N. Vernon, were present at one of these meetings, answering ques- 
tions and giving information. Later Bullock received a letter from 
Methodists in Louisiana in which the writer declared: "If you will get rid 
of that bunch of fuzzy-headed, fuzzy-minded folks that are writing this 
junk, sociology, child psychology, fairy tales, etc, etc., and get some peo- 
ple in your set-up that know God by the experience of the new birth, 
not what some doctors say about God, then you will be on the right 
track." 12 

The conference committee studying these issues presented its report 
to the June 5-8, 1962, meeting of the conference through its chairman, 
William E. Trice. The report was a careful and balanced presentation tak- 
ing some fourteen pages in the journal and covering the several issues 
referred to the committee. The report may be summarized as follows: 

1. That the editors of church school resources were professionally com- 
petent and loyal. The committee recognized that mistakes and editorial 
oversights had been made at times but believed the resources were basi- 
cally sound and Methodist churches should continue to use them. 

2. That the officials of the Board of Education should re-think and 
re-direct the entire approach of Motive magazine. 

3. That Concern should more nearly reflect all positions that deal with 
conflict and controversy. 

4. That every Methodist avoid abusive or vindictive speech or actions 
in espousing his/her convictions on controversial issues. 

5. That every Methodist person and group cherish and use the right 
to study, evaluate, and express opinions upon every area of the life and 
work of the church. 

6. That we give the Woman's Society of Christian Service our vote 
of confidence. 

'The Best of Times; the Worst of Times" 251 

7. That the National Council of Churches is a needed agency of the 
churches but that it should not imply that it speaks for the 40,000,000 
members of denominations that make up its roster. 

8. That "We love our church and are honored to be called Methodists. 
Anyone who unjustly seeks her harm also injures us. Nevertheless, it 
is not to her defense that we dedicate ourselves, but to her militant 
advance by a creative commitment in Christ's name/' 

J. Woodrow Hearn testified to the positive contributions and 
usefulness of the National Council. Only one amendment was proposed, 
but it was not adopted. The proposer of the amendment then graciously 
seconded the motion to adopt the report. 

In addition, Centenary College's president, Joe J. Mickle, vigorously 
affirmed that no member of the Centenary faculty was a member of the 
Communist Party, a communist sympathizer, or an atheist. "Centenary 
College," Dean Leroy Vogel said, "is a bulwark of Anti-Communism, of 
the God-centered philosophy of life, and of the American way of life." 13 
William E. Trice and those who worked with him performed a monumen- 
tal and statesmanlike task in shaping the report and getting it adopted. 
D. W. Poole, W. D. Cotton, and Tom Matheny were among those who 
spoke on the issues. 

J. Woodrow Hearn, president of the conference board, and Mrs. Wiley 
B. Gardner, treasurer, attended the national Convocation on Christian 
Social Concerns in Washington, D. C. in October, 1964. The board worked 
in three divisions: peace and world order, human relations and economic 
affairs, and alcohol problems and general welfare. In the next year the 
conference board faced appropriately the question, "By what authority 
does the church involve itself in social action?" The board had two 
meetings in 1964 and two in 1965. 

In 1965 Jack H. Tinin, associate pastor at First Church, Alexandria 
contributed an article to the June 3 Christian Advocate concerning northern 
ministers who "invade" the South to participate in civil rights causes. He 
stated that in some ways he could be more influential if he were not 
outspoken and formally involved in civil rights causes. He was glad, 
however, the northern ministers had come, for they demonstrated that 
the issue was of concern to the whole church. He confessed his judg- 
ment that "recent events have revealed that our rigidity, hostility, and 
blind prejudice have created a climate in which extremism and instances 
of brutality and murder thrive.... Judgement calls not for defensive tac- 
tics but for repentance." 

Season of Year to Meet; a New District 

In 1947, the conference voted to change the time of meeting from 
November to around the first of June each year. The decision was made 

252 Becoming One People 

after members of the conference were polled. The new meeting time began 
in 1948. 

The conference of 1954 added a new district to the seven that had 
been established since 1933. Before 1933 there had been eight districts, 
with 60,318 members; in 1954 there were 112,018 members, so it was 
obvious that a new one was needed. It was established with Lafayette 
as its hub and its name. 

A New Hymnal in Process 

The Conference Commission on Worship reported to the 1962 ses- 
sion regarding the new hymnal then in process for the whole church. 
They had conferred with Austin C. Lovelace, influential member of the 
hymnal committee, regarding the type of hymns to be included, asking 
especially about gospel hymns. He gave assurance that they would be 
included. The conference commission also urged that the new children's 
curriculum use higher quality hymns and more meaningful songs, from 
the standpoint of both text and music. 

Special Sessions 

From time to time, the Louisiana Conference held special sessions 
to deal with special issues. We have noted some of these already. They 
were usually one -or possibly two -days in length. One was held in Alex- 
andria on September 17, 1952, to consider the sale of part of the property 
of Seashore Assembly Camp Grounds. The church was faced with either 
selling part of the property or losing it to the public school system of Biloxi 
under the right of eminent domain. The conference voted to sell. 

Another special session was held in Alexandria on January 20, 1953, 
to clear up certain legal questions related to the property of the Methodist 
Home Hospital in New Orleans in order to proceed with expanding the 
hospital building. 

Yet another special session was held on November 29, 1956, at Alex- 
andria as a convocation on citizenship. The keynote address was brought 
by Robert E. Goodrich, Jr., pastor of First Church, Dallas. He had spent 
the years from 1923 to 1929 as a youth in Shreveport, where his father 
was pastor at First Church. He attended Centenary College from 1928 
to 1930. Resource persons came from general board staffs; they were: A. 
Dudley Ward, Social and Economic Relations; Roger Burgess, 
Temperance; and Carl D. Soule, World Peace. 

On August 26, 1957, there was a special session, chiefly to get 
authorization to sell one residence and buy another for the executive 
secretary of the Conference Board of Education. The next special session 
was held at Alexandria, on January 28, 1963, to authorize a profession- 
ally organized, conferencewide financial campaign to seek $2,500,000 early 

'The Best of Times; the Worst of Times" 253 

in 1964 for Centenary College needs. A secondary item to consider was 
a proposal for a new episcopal residence. 

Inter-Faith Tensions 

There was some tension in the early and midforties over discrimina- 
tion in the state's treatment of Protestant enterprises. In 1944 the Loui- 
siana Conference pointed out to the Governor of Louisiana that the state 
penitentiary had a chapel for Catholic use but none for Protestants. They 
asked for equal treatment. 

In addition, Methodists called on all Protestant churches, in 1945, to 
oppose state aid for parochial schools. They also proposed that Protes- 
tant churches in the state should band together on these and other issues 
involving church and state relations. 

Actions in the Louisiana Conference, Central Jurisdiction 

The leaders of the Central Jurisdiction's Louisiana Conference car- 
ried on a vigorous program for their constituency in these years. New 
churches were bought or built, new locations and/or buildings were 
secured for some agencies such as Lafon Home, district lines were 
streamlined, and opposition to the existence of the Central Jurisdiction 
was continued. A minimum salary schedule was adopted providing $2,500 
for ministers in full connection and $1,500 for approved supplies. In addi- 
tion, a start was made for increasing the pension payments to retired 

Debts on church buildings were paid off at Jewella, Camphor 
Memorial, Crowley, and Leesville. St. Paul Church in Shreveport had 
$20,000 in a building fund. A total of $36,158 was paid on church debts 
in the New Orleans District. In fact, in 1951 it was pointed out that the 
New Orleans District had the greatest building program of any district 
in the Central Jurisdiction. 14 

There were visiting dignitaries from Methodist institutions and agen- 
cies at almost every session of the conference. Among these were Prince 

A. Taylor, Jr., from Clark College; J. S. Scott, area secretary for New 
Orleans Area and president of Wiley College; Timothy B. Echols, area 
director of youth work; W. D. Lester, district superintendent in Arkan- 
sas and soon to be staff member of the Board of Evangelism; Dean Charles 

B. Copher from Gammon Theological Seminary; Walter N. Vernon of 
the General Board of Education; and Ira B. Loud of the West Texas Con- 
ference. Visiting bishops also dropped in on conference sessions. Some 
of these were G. Bromley Oxnam, James E. Baker, Paul E. Martin, Willis 
J. King, and Robert Elijah Jones, among others. 

254 Becoming One People 

Matthew S. Davage was elected in 1947 to head the lay delegation 
to General Conference, and George W. Carter, Jr., headed the ministerial 
delegation. In fact, Bishop Brooks called on Davage to preside over the 
annual conference on October 3, 1947, possibly the only time— or at least 
a rare time -that a layman ever rendered that service. Davage was a strong 
influence in every yearly session, but at some he was stronger than at 
others. For example, in 1956 Davage was unusually prominent at the con- 
ference session. He had been asked to give a series of messages there 
and used as his topic "Released Power from the Human Soul/' The Jour- 
nal reported, 'The conference was lifted to great heights of spiritual fer- 
vor and joy by the challenging messages." 

Bishop and Mrs. Robert N. Brooks of New Orleans were among those 
who welcomed 843 displaced persons arriving in New Orleans on March 
13, 1949, aboard a U. S. Army transport. 

Bible Facts Every Student Should Know was the title of a small book writ- 
ten by Walter Scott Chinn in 1946, which went into more than one edi- 
tion. He referred to the Bible as "God's love letter to man" and presented 
his information in question and answer form. It contained much helpful 
data and corrected many false ideas about the Bible. 

A Distressing Conflict 

About this time there was a difficult and distressing experience with 
the grand old People's Church in New Orleans. Because the church was 
near several other black Methodist churches, its membership had 

W. T. Handy, Sr., called the episode "an ugly situation," and was 
made district superintendent there just as it developed. Amos M. Taylor 
was officially assigned to the church in 1947, but the church refused to 
accept him. Walter Scott Chinn, a retired former pastor, who possibly 
thought he could save the church for Methodism, stepped in and on his 
own took over as pastor. The 1948 conference then voted to discontinue 
and abandon the church, but Handy, as district superintendent, solved 
the problem - though he had to go to court to uphold his authority as 
the agent of the parent denomination, and thus the agent of the owner 
of the property. Finally, the church was saved, though Walter Scott Chinn 
seemed at one point to think the church ought to become independent 
rather than to remain Methodist. 15 

As Walter Scott Chinn gave up his place of leadership in the con- 
ference, William Talbot Handy, Sr., came to the fore to assume leader- 
ship. During the 1951 conference, Handy presided at a special service 
honoring historic Wesley Church. His son, W. T. Handy, Jr., was ordained 
elder that year, and obviously had inherited his father's gift for leader- 
ship. Other leaders had also emerged, such as Robert D. Hill, Carl T. 
Wethers, George W. Carter, C. C. Landry, Mrs. George W. Carter, John 

'The Best of Times; the Worst of Times" 255 

S. Hereford, Robert F. Harrington, W. S. P. Norris, George Leon Netter- 
ville, Monroe S. Stringer, L. L. Haynes, CO. Greene, T. R. W. Harris, 
T. R. Albert, J. R. Patterson, L. M. Johnson, and Nathaniel P. Perry. 

Improved Facilities 

Other significant accomplishments in these years were numerous. 
Local churches improved their facilities. Some property belonging to 
Wesley Church in New Orleans was bought by the city for $30,000 to 
use as a site for a civic center. This sale enabled the church to improve 
its own building. People's Church, after its trials, paid for and installed 
a new Hammond organ at a cost of $2,700 and made plans to remodel 
its building at a cost of $65,000. Wesley Chapel at Mansfield was remod- 
eled, and St. James Church in Shreveport was transferred to a new church 
building it bought for $70,000. Part of the Gulf side property not needed 
for the church's property was sold in 1967 to help in maintaining the 

People's Methodist Community Center started a service of day care 
for working mothers that was immensely valuable. Lafon Home not only 
improved its physical plant, but also added nursing care and planned 
to provide training there for student nurses from Dillard University. 

The conference in 1955 was issue-oriented. It turned down a proposal 
by Walter Scott Chinn to the General Conference that it adopt legislation 
allowing women to be admitted to annual conference with full rights and 
privileges. W. T. Handy, Jr., was chairman of a committee the same year 
that had been charged with working out an arrangement that would 
reduce the number of districts from five to four. The conference urged 
that rulings of the U. S. Supreme Court regarding integration in schools 
be accepted graciously by the state. A resolution to the General Con- 
ference proposed that the Louisiana, West Texas, Mississippi, and Upper 
Mississippi Conferences be made into one conference and Bishop Willis 
J. King be assigned to it. In addition, they sent a memorandum to General 
Conference declaring that jurisdictional lines in The Methodist Church 
based on race are "in violation of the New Testament standard of 
ONENESS." Then in 1957 the conference adopted unanimously a pro- 
posal that the General Conference abolish the Central Jurisdiction. 
Members of the conference were optimistic about the chances that church 
and society would move ahead to a freer situation in race relations, for 
in 1958 they admonished ministers to accelerate their efforts to prepare 
the laity for reasonable adjustments to an integrated society. 

In fact, almost every session of the conference in these years had some 
action regarding the status of blacks, either in The Methodist Church or 
as citizens of Louisiana and the United States. In 1966 the conference was 
reminded that in 1865 Methodist Episcopal members had come to the 

256 Becoming One People 

South with a passion to help underprivileged people. They discussed the 
potential merger of the South Central and the Central Jurisdictions in 
almost every annual session. 

The Louisiana Conference, Central Jurisdiction, was producing a new 
generation of leaders. N. H. Baker, head of New Orleans District, men- 
tioned in his report to the conference in 1964 that Alfred L. Norris of 
Haven Church "is in his first pastorate and has done a marvelous job.... 
[He] is a good preacher and an unusually good leader to be a beginner." 16 
Twenty-two years later Alfred L. Norris 7 appointment was entered in the 
1986 Journal: "President, Gammon Theological School." Baker's observa- 
tions on Norris' abilities were obviously accurate. 

Youth of the conference had good guidance and met annually in their 
assembly at Gulf side. Cleonis Henderson, president of the conference 
youth in 1964, reported fifty-nine youth present at their Institute at 
Gulf side in August. A career day had been held in April, and over one 
hundred participated. The Methodist youth assembly of 1962 reported 
185 in attendance; this was their largest meeting to date at Gulf side. In 
1970 they ranked second in the South Central Jurisdiction (and sixth in 
the nation) in the raising of funds for the Youth Service Fund. 

In these years the Shreveport District issued a monthly publication 
for youth called "The Challenger." The Conference Board of Lay Activities 
set up a scholarship program to help in seminary training for young 
ministers. By the end of this era a part time director of the Program Council 
was employed to strengthen the Christian nurture of children, youth, 
and adults. 

United Brethren Churches 

Members of the United Brethren Church in Louisiana continued their 
witness to the faith at Jennings and Roanoke throughout this period. 
Together they had 360 members in the early 1940s. A major event occurred 
earlier when oil was discovered in the area and a producing well was 
brought in on the Jennings church property. This was a welcome sup- 
plement to church income. The congregation erected a new parsonage 
in 1939. By 1962 the members at Jennings erected an addition to their 
church building for Sunday school use. They also replaced the old church 
with a modern brick building. Pastors in this period who served at 
Roanoke were G. W. Emerson, who served from 1947 to 1950 and Paul 
Alleman from 1951 to 1954. J. B. Morgan served at Jennings from 1950 
to 1961. At Roanoke, Wilford Marrs served from 1957 to 1964. 

Though these two churches were not greatly affected by it, in 1946 
their denomination united with the Evangelical Church to form the 

'The Best of Times; the Worst of Times'' 257 

Evangelical United Brethren Church. In 1968 this new denomination 
merged with The Methodist Church to form The United Methodist 

Woman's Society of Christian Service 

In 1940 The Discipline of The Methodist Church read: 'There shall be 
a Woman's Society of Christian Service in every Local Church" (334). Soon 
this was the goal among the churches in Louisiana— but not all. Many 
women had been active in the enormous effort to implement the 1939 
union of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Methodist Episcopal Church, 
South and the Methodist Protestant Church. Their particular task was 
to merge the women's missionary and service societies. 

Louisiana Conference Women, Central Jurisdiction 11 

The Provisional Committee of the Central Jurisdiction Woman's Soci- 
ety of Christian Service was set up by Bishop Robert Elijah Jones of Loui- 
siana. Members of the committee of four included Elizabeth (Mrs. Robert 
Elijah) Jones, wife of the bishop, as chairperson and Irma Green (Mrs. 
L. A.) Jackson of Shreveport. Central Jurisdiction delegates met in June, 
1940, in St. Louis, and Mrs. Jackson was elected for the 1940-1944 quadren- 
nium to serve on the Woman's Division and the General Board of 

The Charter Meeting of the Central Jurisdiction WSCS was held in 
December, 1940, in Cincinnati, Ohio — the same city where the Woman's 
Home Missionary Society was established in 1880. Margaret (Mrs. J. W. 
E., Jr.) Bo wen, principal of Gilbert Academy in New Orleans, was elected 
the first president, and she was re-elected for a second term, serving from 
1940-1948. She reported in 1944 that their members were active in pro- 
moting civil rights and in recruiting youth for Christian service. At that 
time there were three field workers in the conference: Joseph Lowery, 
Mathilda Killings worth, and Louise Killings worth. Thirty-five youth 
attended a meeting at Sager Brown School with deaconesses and US-2 
workers. Mrs. Inez Chrisentery (president) was invited and attended the 
annual meeting of the South Central Jurisdiction WSCS in Lafayette. She 
reported a warm reception. The attendance increased at their own annual 
meeting, and the conference society joined the United Church Women. 
Five persons were scheduled to attend the jurisdiction school of mission 
at Wiley College, and the conference school was scheduled at Sager Brown 


Becoming One People 

Courtesy United Methodist Board of Global Ministries 

Ruth Carter and Margaret Bowen 

The Central Jurisdiction School of Mission and Christian Service was 
held at Gulf side in June, 1954. Leaders included nationally known per- 
sons, such as Thelma Stevens, Theressa Hoover, Mrs. Forrest E. Dudley, 
and Charles F. Golden. Mrs. George W. Carter, Jr., of New Orleans was 
president of the WSCS of the Central Jurisdiction, 1948-60. 18 Mrs. Carter 
was also a member of the National Board of Deaconess Work and attended 
the Fourth Assembly of the WSCS in Milwaukee in May, 1954. At the 
Milwaukee meeting, 105 presidents of 105 annual conferences signed the 
huge "Charter of Racial Policies" during the assembly. 

The New Orleans District WSCS sponsored a reception in May, 1954, 
honoring Mrs. Willis J. King, wife of Bishop King, who had recently 
returned from Liberia. 

The ministers' wives' association of the Louisiana Conference for 
many years raised money for the conference Ministers' Pension Fund. 
They were a parallel group to the members of the WSCS; many women 

'The Best of Times; the Worst of Times" 


belonged to both. In the early 1950s the annual conference set a pension 
fund goal of $90,000 to be raised in three years. The ministers' wives 
assumed responsibility to raise $21,000 of the goal. And they did it!- 
with the final amount raised through a recital by Marion Downs, lyric 
soprano and the widow of Karl Downs of Texas. 

By 1968 joint activities with societies in the South Central Jurisdic- 
tion were occurring. At the South Central annual meeting of woman's 
societies all delegates— white and black— were seated by states and not 
by conferences. Seven women were present from the former Central 
Jurisdiction's Louisiana Conference, and they reported there was no 
segregation in seating. 

In 1970 Ethel Alston as president of the WSCS reported that since 
the hurricane had damaged Gulfside and rendered it unusable for their 
annual School of Christian Mission, the other Louisiana Conference 
women had proposed that the two conferences meet together at 
Centenary College for a joint school. 

Louisiana Conference Women, South Central Jurisdiction 19 

During the fall of 1940 
the Woman's Society of 
Christian Service was 
organized from the local 
church to the jurisdiction. 
Charter meetings were 
held in thousands of local 
churches in September, in 
nearly one hundred con- 
ferences in October, and 
in six jurisdictions in 

Lucile (Mrs. George 
S., Jr.) Sexton was elected 
the first president of the 
Louisiana Conference, 
South Central Jurisdic- 
tion, WSCS. Two months 
later she was elected the 
first president of the 
South Central Jurisdiction 
WSCS in their meeting at 
the Boston Avenue 
Methodist Church in 
Tulsa, Oklahoma. For the 

September 1955 

Courtesy General Board 
of Global Ministries 

Cover by 
Robert Schwing 

Lucile Sexton 

260 Becoming One People 

cover of The Methodist Woman, September, 1955, Robert Schwig drew a 
likeness of "Miss Lucile" to typify the individual member carrying on the 
worldwide work of the Woman's Society of Christian Service. Mrs. Sex- 
ton was a member of the Woman's Division and the General Board of 
Missions and was elected a member of five delegations to General 

In Louisiana 225 societies sent charters to the organizational con- 
ference in Alexandria, and 9,789 members were reported. In 1942 these 
local units had a total of over 10,000 members, who gave over $38,000 
to missions. They were supporting four "Bible women," who worked on 
mission fields in an effort to interest women in the Bible and its message. 
These societies enrolled almost 6,000 women in study courses and had 
1,086 subscribers to The Methodist Woman and 1,027 to World Outlook. 

During the war years Mrs. J. B. Pollard was president, and she had 
all the problems of the war economy to deal with, scarcity of time, of prod- 
ucts, and of volunteers. Membership was reduced because women were 
preoccupied with United Service Organization or Red Cross work. Some 
had to get jobs while the "man of the house" was in service, and some 
women were in service themselves. The headquarters in New York asked 
for an extra offering called the emergency fund. Some missionaries were 
called home, and some were imprisoned, including Patricia McHugh from 
New Orleans. Mrs. Pollard was able to sustain the loyalty of local church 
women even though annual meetings were cancelled because of travel 

By 1944 the societies were paying over $44,000 to missions. The 
numbers of subscribers to The Methodist Woman had grown by 1946 to 
2,195, compared to 1,086 in 1942. They were also supporting five mis- 
sionaries, three student workers, and 41 scholarships at the Houma 

In 1946 the Wesleyan Service Guild (WSG) of the Monroe District 
met at Bastrop on July 14, and the members present sang their Guild 
hymn, which revealed something of the ideal of sisterhood to which they 
were committed. The title was, "This is My Song, O God of All the 

The WSCS of the South Central Jurisdiction during the 1950s and 
1960s overpaid its pledge nearly every year. In 1958 the Louisiana 
Woman's Society held first place in the jurisdiction for per capita giving. 
Between 1940 and 1960 they had given the sum of $1,563,302. 

In 1950 the society provided student workers at Palmetto, Lafayette, 
Houma, Ruston, Natchitoches, Shreveport, and New Orleans. In 1952 
Louisiana sent a strong delegation to Omaha to the Jurisdiction Woman's 
Society meeting. They were Mrs. F. E. Kennon, Mrs. Lee Tidwell, Mrs. 

'The Best of Times; the Worst of Times" 261 

Warren Constant, Mrs. J. C. Whitaker, Mrs. P. D. Lambert, Mrs. S. J. 
Fairchild, Mrs. Charles Goldthwait, Mrs. Sam Dunbar, Mrs. W. E. Trice, 
and Mrs. Glenn Laskey. Jurisdiction officers included Mary Gladys Page. 
Mrs. G. W. Dameron was a member of the Woman's Division. 

In 1951 Gretchen Elston of Noel Memorial Church went to Japan and 
served almost four years as a missionary. She returned in 1958 for 
language study, married Patterson D. Benner, and was assigned with her 
husband to Aoyama Gakuin University in 1960. She returned to Loui- 
siana in 1981. 

In 1952 Lydia Gerhart, field worker for the National Department in 
Home Fields, spent ten days in November/December speaking in thir- 
teen appearances in Louisiana. 

By 1954 the Louisiana Woman's Societies had a budget of over $94,000. 
In that year Margaret Wade Campbell volunteered as a special term mis- 
sionary. She was from Alexandria and a recent graduate of Centenary 
College. In July she left to take special training at Allegheny College in 
Pennsylvania for service in Monterrey, Mexico. 

In 1954 the Methodist women of Louisiana celebrated the seventy- 
fifth anniversary of the beginning of women's mission work in the M. 
E. Church, South. Virgil D. Morris presided and began the program by 
reading a proclamation from Bishop Paul E. Martin. The event was 
described thus: 

The Diamond Jubilee Pageant-Story of Louisiana Methodist Women 
and Missions was written and presented by Bess Hicks, Maytie 
Neilson, and Mabel Stewart and was dedicated to Virginia Laskey; 
it gave through Scripture, music, living pictures, choral reading, and 
spoken scenes a vivid picture of the jewels which have gone to make 
up the Kingdom of God on earth. Through the cooperation of the 
Rayne Memorial Church choir, the speaking choir of First Methodist 
Church, Shreveport, and many New Orleans ministers and women 
and under the able direction of Mrs. Hicks, Mrs. Neilson, and Mrs. 
Stewart, the pageant was given a splendid production. 20 

When Mrs. Glenn Laskey addressed the Louisiana Conference 
Woman's Society as she closed her term of eight years as president in 
1954, she commented that "women have been slow in finding their rightful 
place in the church.... There are very few on the policy-making bodies. 
It is hoped that within a few quadrenniums this will be changed, and 
able women will be given equal representation on boards." 21 

Mrs. Laskey became a member of the General Board of Missions in 
1956, and in 1965 became president of the Woman's Division of the 
General Board of Missions. She was a delegate to jurisdictional and 
general conferences and trustee of five colleges. Centenary College 
honored her with an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters; Scar- 
ritt College named their library after her; Southern Methodist University 


Becoming One People 

named her a distinguished 
alumna in 1976, and she 
was inducted into United 
Methodism's Hall of Fame 
in Philanthropy in 1981. 
She was chosen by the 
Council of Bishops to be a 
member of the General 
Assembly of the National 
Council of Churches, and 
she has been a delegate to 
the World Federation of 
Methodist Women in Nor- 
way and to meetings of the 
Central Committee of the 
World Council of Churches 
in Geneva. She attended 
meetings of Methodist 
church men and women in 
London, Sweden, several 
countries in Africa, 
Australia, China, South 
America, and elsewhere. 
Despite the tensions, the violence, the great difficulties of the 1960s, 
the Woman's Division... members never wavered in their belief that 
there must be a united, inclusive, racially-integrated church, one 
United Methodist Church in the U.S.A. Threats, ugly phone calls and 
letters, some ostracism filled Mrs. Laskey's days, but she and her sup- 
portive husband never wavered in their strong belief and faith that 
they were acting in the right cause. Mrs. Laskey was an active par- 
ticipant in the Louisiana Conference in assisting Bishop Aubrey 
Walton in uniting Conferences A and B into one strong inclusive 
church. 22 

Mrs. C. I. Jones (later Mrs. Charles Cadwallader) was president of 
the society from 1954 to 1958 when emphasis was placed on personal 
religion and recruiting for mission service. Mrs. Jones was able to visit 
a hundred missionary projects in countries around the world. During her 
term as president, membership in local societies reached 15,883, and total 
giving was $113,975. 

During 1958-62, the WSCS gave much emphasis to exposing youth 
to the meaning of the church's mission by sponsoring special gatherings 
at dinners and at schools of mission. A study revealed that forty-three 
percent of church members were women, of whom only thirty percent 

WSCS Annual Report 1964-65 

Virginia Laskey 

'The Best of Times; the Worst of Times" 263 

belonged to the Woman's Society or the Wesley an Service Guild. 
However, great progress was made in WSG work from 1942 to 1964; in 
1942 there were only thirty-eight units, with 642 members who contributed 
$335. In 1964 there were 105 units with 1,917 members, and their giving 
amounted to $18,670. 

Mrs. G. W. Dameron was conference president from 1962 to 1966. 
She told the annual meeting in 1965 that there were three important 
demands to meet: to love as God loves, to unite with all Christians in 
giving a Christian witness to the world, and to practice the stewardship 
of all of life. 

Youth, Laity, Evangelists 

After the great years of the Epworth League, some persons feared 
that the combining of the Sunday school youth and Epworth League 
youth would result in a decrease of young people's interest in the church. 
But Methodist youth continued to come to the church to learn about the 
Christian faith and learn how to serve their God. Youth membership in 
the church school in 1949 was 10,653, and the average attendance at the 
Sunday evening youth fellowship meetings was 2,000. Also in that year, 
700 youth attended a rally just preceding the meeting of the annual 

In these years, Louisiana Methodist youth had good leadership. The 
full-time conference directors of youth work in the Louisiana Conference, 
South Central Jurisdiction changed from time to time and included Webb 
Pomeroy, Bettie Rea Fox, Ruth Ellen Kelley, Louise Sharp, Lawrence 
Gilbert, and Kenneth G. Rorie. These youth also enjoyed summer 
assemblies; in fact, they had two of them in 1949, plus seventeen district 
camps with 1,200 youth attending. Most of these camps were held at 
Caney Lake and Camp Brewer. 

Similarly, youth in the Central Jurisdiction's Louisiana Conference 
enjoyed and profited by their annual summer assembly. In the early six- 
ties W. R. London, Jr., and Edward A. Kennedy, Jr., provided wonder- 
ful leadership. Kennedy was the executive secretary of education in the 
conference and received special tribute at the 1964 youth assembly for 
his long service. Timothy B. Echols made a great contribution as youth 
worker for the area. 

Several student representatives were sent to an ecumenical student 
conference in Athens, Ohio in 1963. A human relations conference was 
held in April for high school students, and a youth fellowship seminar 
was held at People's Church. 

The Board of Education and the Board of Temperance in the Loui- 
siana Conference, S. C. J., collaborated in an annual essay-speech con- 
test among youth on alcohol. In 1952 the subject was "What Youth Should 

264 Becoming One People 

Know and Do About Alcohol and Other Narcotics." About 150 young 
people presented their essays at fifty local churches. The three winners 
repeated theirs to 200 youth at Northwestern State College. The statewide 
winner, Betty B. Willis of Coushatta, gave her essay-speech at the annual 
conference and was sent by the General Board of Temperance to the 
Methodist School of Alcohol Studies with expenses paid. In 1960 the 
theme to write on was "Alcohol and Traffic Safety." In another year the 
theme was "Liquor Advertising." 

Lay activities were an important aspect of the ministries of the two 
conferences. A conference lay leader and district lay leaders were elected 
by the annual conferences. Traditionally, lay members— especially men- 
were expected chiefly to tend to finances. But in Louisiana they were con- 
cerned with evangelism, church membership, and the welfare of rural 
churches, among other causes. Special recognition was given to laymen 
who made unusual contributions to the program of the church. For exam- 
ple, a layman of the year was chosen and announced at each annual ses- 
sion of the conference. At the 1964 General Conference, Robert P. Lay 
of the Louisiana Conference, S. C. J., was named as the church wide 
"Layman of the Quadrennium" by Robert G. Mayfield of the General 
Board of Lay Activities. J. R. Patterson was the lay leader and General 
Conference delegate in 1952 from the Louisiana Conference, C. J. 

Local church educational activities were given good guidance by the 
staff of the two conferences. Among the educational leaders in the Loui- 
siana Conference, Central Jurisdiction, were such persons as Nathaniel 
P. Perry, Mrs. Lauretta C. Johnson, and Mrs. Julia E. Smith, the latter 
two being workers with children. In the other conference, leaders in 
education were such persons as Hubert A. Gibbs, Mrs. Roy Scales, 
Bentley Sloane, D. B. Raulins, Frances Willard, and J. Henry Bowdon, Sr. 

Evangelism was a constant emphasis, for all ministers are evangelists. 
The evangelistic leaders in both conferences emphasized the necessity 
of commitment to Christ and joining with other Christians in the church 
to convert the world, to develop skills in leading others to commitment, 
and to encourage new converts to grow in the faith through Bible study 
and participation in the various organizations of the church. 

Spiritual life missions were encouraged throughout the Louisiana 
Conference, S. C. J., in 1952, as well as visitation evangelism and church 
attendance crusades. Total active membership reported in 1943 was 72,172 
with almost 14,000 as nonresident members. In 1965 the total full member- 
ship was 123,155, about 400 less than the previous year. In addition, there 
were 15,826 preparatory members on the church rolls. 

'The Best of Times; the Worst of Times'' 265 

Special Conference Appointments 

Louisiana ministers were serving widely in special appointments. An 
example of the variety of such tasks were special ministerial tasks as 
chaplains of hospitals and in the armed services, already mentioned; 
teaching in the Methodist schools, colleges, and seminaries; conference 
directors of Christian education, camping, student work (Wesley Foun- 
dations), and directors of homes for children and for the aged. 

The broad scope of services rendered by Louisiana Methodists is well 
illustrated in the 1964 Journal for each of the two conferences. Methodists 
were serving as: directors of community centers; program directors at 
Gulfside; superintendents of the Lafon Home, the Methodist Home 
Hospital, and the children's home; professors at Dillard University and 
Perkins School of Theology; area council director; campus ministers; con- 
ference treasurers; and missionaries in Rhodesia, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, 
Chile, India, Argentina, Congo, Korea, Bolivia, and Hawaii. An unusual 
assignment was that of Virgil D. Morris after he retired; he served as 
pastor in Australia for almost two years along with visiting mission sta- 
tions there. 23 

Christian Nurture 

Louisiana Conference, S. C. J., had a strong Wesley Foundation pro- 
gram in this period. Among the directors in this and earlier eras were 
such persons as Howard L. Daughenbaugh, Jr., W. Ralph Cain, Clarence 
H. Snelling, Jr., and James Christie. 

In the fall, 1945, George Dameron was finishing his nine years as Exec- 
utive Secretary of Christian Education in the conference. The Board of 
Education commended him for laboring long and well to put the pro- 
gram on a sound basis. He reported that in the past year 1,668 persons 
had attended training schools, and 1,393 youth had attended district youth 

Earl B. Emmerich succeeded Dameron and served for four years. He 
had a staff of four full-time workers. They reported that fifty-four new 
church schools, with 3,545 new pupils, were organized during the 
quadrennium. The board concluded that Emmerich's accomplishments 
had generated esteem for and confidence in the conference program. 

Bentley Sloane followed Emmerich in 1948 and began his term as 
director of Christian education in the conference. Under his leadership 
for fifteen years, this work was strengthened significantly. The Board of 
Education offices at Centenary College became virtually the conference 
headquarters. In 1962 education had the largest budget of any board in 
the conference (over $46,000). Twenty-eight summer camps, with a staff 

266 Becoming One People 

of 308 reached 1,543 persons from 444 churches. Many training enter- 
prises were held, with 256 youth attending the annual assembly and 200 
involved in two state student retreats. Sixty-nine leadership schools were 
held with 1,807 persons enrolled and coming from 196 churches. Sloane's 
effective work for Christian education was followed by his appointment 
as district superintendent of the Baton Rouge District. 

The Four Square Bible Class 

Bentley Sloane has written the story of the Four Square Bible Class, 
First Church, Shreveport, 24 and is currently their teacher. He is well- 
known throughout the conference from his years as assistant pastor, 
pastor, district superintendent, and Christian education leader. 

The Four Square Bible Class invited R. E. Smith of Centenary Col- 
lege to be their teacher in the early 1920s. He was head of the Depart- 
ment of Bible and Religious Education and a most competent and devout 
Bible scholar. Soon after he began teaching the class, attendance became 
so great that they had to meet in the church sanctuary. Later they moved 
to a court room at the Caddo Parish Court House. Then they moved to 
the council chamber of city hall. Attendance soon reached 400, and on 
homecoming day in 1924, there were 1,026 present. Other meeting places 
were secured as attendance grew. 

The class was originally open only to men, but in 1924 they invited 
women to join. It undertook social service projects of several types. Special 
occasions brought the class an attendance of 1,253 in 1925, and of 1,632 
in 1926. The class had its own orchestra, quartet, and glee club, comprised 
of excellent musicians. 

The early exuberance of the class was a part of the times in which 
it emerged, as Sloane makes clear. This period was followed by what the 
author calls 'The Settled Years/ 7 in which the attendance and activities 
became more like other classes. The distinctive appeal of the class was 
obviously the teaching of the Bible in the progressive tradition of R. E. 
Smith. He emphasized what biblical writers were trying to say about God 
and His manner of dealing with His creation and His creatures. Sloane 
summarizes well the secret of Smith's success: "The great Dean Smith 
held high the torch of sanity and authentic biblical scholarship in the midst 
of it all.... Without any direct assault on... theological vagaries, he tact- 
fully maneuvered his students to the high ground of the truth through 
a spiritual interpretation of the words of the Bible." 25 

Some Helpful Workers in the Churches 

Many persons helped — and are helping — to make Louisiana 
Methodism what it is today. Those mentioned here, as well as throughout 

'The Best of Times; the Worst of Times" 267 

the account, are only a few and are selected to represent their colleagues 
who have labored just as faithfully. 

Judge Chris Thomas Barnette made an outstanding contribution to 
Louisiana Methodism and to Louisiana jurisprudence —especially in the 
area of juvenile justice. He served as judge in the Caddo Parish Juvenile 
Court; Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal, New Orleans; First Circuit Court 
of Appeal, Baton Rouge; and various district courts from 1939 into the 
1970s. He won several honors for his contributions to juvenile court 
philosophy and operations, including the Meritorious Service Award by 
the National Conference of Juvenile Court Judges. He served as presi- 
dent of the National Conference of Juvenile Court Judges in 1953 and 
chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Juvenile Court Foun- 
dation in 1961. A member of Noel Memorial United Methodist Church, 
Shreveport, he was chosen Louisiana Conference layman of the year in 
1962. As a longtime member of the Board of Directors of the Methodist 
Children's Home in Ruston, he contributed substantially to that institu- 
tion which was close to his heart. His contributions to church and com- 
munity were numerous, significant, and expressions of a genuine and 
warm Christian spirit. 26 

W. D. Cotton received his education in law at Louisiana State Univer- 
sity, practiced law, and later became president of the First National Bank 
of Rayville. He is an active and loyal member of his local church at 
Rayville, and also has contributed much to annual, jurisdictional, and 
general boards of the church. He was a delegate to jurisdictional con- 
ferences from 1952 to 1980, and to general conferences from 1960 to 1980, 
and was a reserve delegate in 1984. He served his nation in the armed 
forces in World War II and his state as a member of the Louisiana Bar 
Association, the Board of Directors of the Commission for a Better Loui- 
siana, and the Board of Trustees for the Public Affairs Research Council. 

C. O. "Speck" Holland of Minden served from 1938 to 1941 as execu- 
tive vice president of Centenary College and was lay leader of the con- 
ference from 1936 to 1943. He was named Louisiana Conference layman 
of the year in 1959. He was a delegate to Jurisdictional and General Con- 
ferences. He helped found the People's Bank and Trust Company of 
Minden and was its first president. He was also active in civic affairs, 
such as the Bossier-Webster Fair and Forest Festival and the Minden 
Chamber of Commerce. In 1969 he was "man of the year" in the Loui- 
siana Forestry Association. 

Vinson M. Mouser attended Westminster College in Texas in 1919-21 
and the University of Texas. He practiced law and achieved distinction 
in the legal profession. He was a law partner in the firm that included 
John J. McKeithen, later governor of the state, and served as district judge. 
Both men belonged to the Methodist Protestant Church before it united 
with the episcopal Methodisms. For many years, Mouser served the 


Becoming One People 

«* \f 

'The Best of limes; the Worst of Times'' 269 

Methodist Church on several boards, both general and conference. He 
was voted layman of the year in the Monroe District. 

Robert J. O'Neal became attorney for the cities of Leesville, DeRid- 
der, and Merry ville early in the 1900s. In Shreveport, he was elected 
district judge and served that court for many years. He was a longtime 
member of Noel Memorial in Shreveport. He held numerous offices in 
the local church, and at the annual conference level he served as treasurer 
for the Board of Trustees and also for the Board of Pensions. He was a 
district lay leader and conference layman of the year in 1960. He gave 
leadership in Shreveport to the Association for the Blind and the Salva- 
tion Army. He was a delegate to jurisdictional and general conferences 
from 1944 to 1968. 27 

Methodist Agencies in Louisiana 

Business Girls Inn, Shreveport 

In 1946 the location of the inn was changed from Fannin Street to 
Cotton Street, where it continued to be a home for young women away 
from home. In August, 1954, Mrs. Mary Freeman was honored for her 
twenty-two years of service as head resident of the Business Girls Inn 
at Shreveport. She had come to the inn when it was organized in 1928 
and when there were only twelve girls in residence. In 1954 there were 
fifty-two residents in the inn and a waiting list. She reported that more 
than 1,000 girls had come under her care during her tenure. 

Centenary College, Shreveport 

In 1946 Centenary College enrolled 1,335 students, of whom 932 lived 
in Shreveport. Adding students to evening classes brought the enroll- 
ment up to more than 1,800. Of these, 1,000 were veterans. For this 
number of students, the faculty had to be increased by seventy percent. 
The college "had no indebtedness whatever," according to the Journal, 
and closed the 1945-46 year "with surplus in its operating account." 
Centenary received gifts from the Carnegie Foundation and the General 
Board of Education. The government gave surplus property to the col- 
lege valued at $25,000. The Shreveport and Bossier City communities suc- 
cessfully raised $530,000 for Centenary. 

Photo at Left: The cornerstone of the new science building, Centenary College, 
was laid on Sunday, May 1, 1949. The building was named Mickle Hall upon the 
retirement of President Joe J. Mickle. Participants, left to right: Marlin W. Drake, 
Chris Barnette, John B. Atkins, Sr., John L. Scales, Sr., Henry A. O'Neal, George 
D. Wray, Sr., Paul M. Brown, Lt.-Gen. Ira C. Ecker, President Joe J. Mickle, 
Charlton H. Lyons, Sr., J. Henry Bowdon, Sr., and F. M. Freeman. 

270 Becoming One People 

By 1947 the endowment had increased by $397,771, bringing the total 
figure of that fund to $868,409. A new chaplain and Bible teacher was 
secured that year when Rev. William Fraser was added to the staff. In 
1948 a new $44,000 science building was started. 

The most prominent financial event in this period at Centenary Col- 
lege was the 1951 bequest of $2,000,000 provided in the will of William 
Arch Haynes. Mr. Haynes had been a loyal supporter for many years, 
and he stipulated that his bequest should go into the endowment of the 
college. The college gymnasium was named in his honor. A tragic plane 
accident in 1954 took the lives of three active and faithful trustees -John 
B. Atkins, Justin R. Querbes, Sr., and R. H. Hargrove. A dormitory for 
women was being built in 1954 as a memorial to T. L. James, longtime 
friend of the college and of all things related to the Methodist Church 
in Louisiana. 

In 1959 President Joe J. Mickle reported the beginning of a ten year 
development program with a goal of $10,500,000. The college was already 
raising funds for an R. E. Smith religious activities building. The Four 
Square Bible Class at First Methodist Church was also raising money for 
the project. R. E. Smith had been teaching the class since 1920 and was 
a beloved mentor to members of the class and to countless students. 

As President Mickle neared the close of his nineteen year presidency 
in 1964, he could point to numerous achievements at the college. In 1963 
an excellent library building had been completed; a new music building 
was being erected— thus replacing the last frame building on the cam- 
pus; and a new men's dormitory was almost completed. In the current 
year, he reported, a total of 2,557 persons took at least one course. He 
reported that there were 335 Methodist students, 225 Baptists, 103 
Episcopalians, ninety-four Catholics, eighty-four Disciples, and smaller 
numbers of students from other denominations and faiths. 

Some leading Methodist ministers visited the Centenary campus that 
year: J. Wallace Hamilton gave the Willson Lectures, Barry Bailey gave 
the baccalaureate sermon, and Bishop Aubrey Walton participated on 
several occasions. 

The Central Christian Advocate, New Orleans 

Prince A. Taylor was editor of the Central Christian Advocate for much 
of this 1948-56 period. Born in Oklahoma Territory, he was educated in 
Texas (Samuel Huston College), Atlanta (Gammon), and New York 
(Union Seminary and New York University). He had been pastor in North 
Carolina and New York City, and had taught at Bennett College, Gam- 
mon Theological Seminary, and Clark College. 

'The Best of Times; the Worst of Times" 271 

Taylor was a perceptive and expressive minister and editor. The paper 
in his era carried certain general features provided to all Christian Advocates 
in the Methodist fold, such as "News of the World Parish, " "In the 
Nation's Capital" (supplied by Jacob S. Peyton), "Movies for Church 
Showings" (supplied by Walter N. Vernon), "The Bible and Your Fam- 
ily" (by Charles B. Copher), and "Dr. Walker's Bible Class." Taylor spoke 
out on current problems in his editorials. For example, he criticized 
Mississippi Governor Fielding R. Wright when the governor announced 
that he would appoint to public offices only those who publicly subscribed 
to segregation. He also tried to make the paper relevant to black 
Methodists and use less of the material prepared primarily for white 
Methodists. He also omitted many of the sermons sent to him. He 
explained to one group that it is not news for the ministers to preach 
inspiring sermons. One lady replied, "In my church it is. It so seldom 
happens." 28 

Editor Taylor cautioned his readers that to "hammer too hard" on 
the dilemma of black Methodists being in a separate jurisdiction might 
trigger an explosion. 

It was my conviction that the paper should always reflect a Christian 
perspective. Its tasks were to inform, interpret, inspire, and provoke 
thought and action.... "Some people hit the nail on the head every 
time they strike, but they hit so hard that they bust the board.". . .Peo- 
ple need to be jolted out of complacency and indifference... but it 
should be done in such a way that the reactions will ultimately be 
positive rather than negative. 29 

Dillard University, New Orleans 

Dillard University continued to prepare students to serve both church 
and society. W. T. Handy, Jr., took his B. A. there in 1948. One day in 
a chapel talk to the students, he challenged them, as well as the faculty, 
to take their religious duties more seriously. A March of Dimes grant of 
$25,000 was given to the University each year for five years, beginning 
in 1949, to expand the teaching programs for black nurses. 

A high point, socially, came on June 24, 1954, when Emperor Haile 
Selassie was given a reception at Dillard University during a two day visit 
to New Orleans. President A. W. Dent of Dillard greeted the Emperor 
and Mayor de Lesseps Morrison as they arrived. The Emperor addressed 
the audience in Amharic, his native language, and an interpreter gave 
it in English. He praised the contribution which Americans of African 
descent were making to America. 

The Methodist Student Movement on the Dillard University campus 
was directed by Mrs. Bessie R. Porter of Grace Church. She sent students 
to attend the various churches in the vicinity. 30 

272 Becoming One People 

Dulac Indian Mission 

Most of the staff at Dulac were new in 1954, but they soon felt at home 
in a friendly atmosphere. They aimed at helping the Indian people they 
served not only in health and basic communication skills but also in wor- 
ship and living together. The mission provided the only wholesome place 
for recreation -otherwise there were only a tavern and dance hall. 

The mission maintained an elementary school through the eighth 
grade, public health nursing, a playground, and a baseball diamond. The 
staff arranged scholarships for those interested in college and a work camp 
in cooperation with MacDonell Center. In addition to Principal Carl Brun- 
son, there were two teachers, Mildred Brunson and Wilhelmina Hooper, 
and a registered nurse, Jessie Louise Jackson. 

In 1959 Edison P. Roy wrote a thesis at Louisiana State University 
entitled 'The Dulac Indians. . .," in which he paid a glowing tribute to the 
Methodist program with the Indians. In that year Harry Ezell was work- 
ing there in rehabilitation. In 1960-61 a new building for the work at Dulac, 
made possible through offerings of the Woman's Society's Week of Prayer 
and Self Denial, was dedicated by Bishop Walton. As a result of the work 
done there by the Woman's Society of Christian Service, the Indian peo- 
ple were developing a self -consciousness and more ability to make their 
own decisions. 

In 1963 Mr. and Mrs. Carl Brunson completed ten years of work at 
Dulac and left for further training, after which they expected to be com- 
missioned as missionary and deaconess. 

Glenwood Hospital, West Monroe 

In 1960 the conference Board of Hospitals and Homes agreed to 
operate a new hospital for The Methodist Church. The hospital was being 
built in West Monroe and was named Glenwood Hospital. Ewell 
Singleton was named administrator when it opened in 1962. 

In 1965 the hospital cared for an average of eighty-four persons per 
day. The maternity ward welcomed 526 new babies that year, and the 
staff performed surgery on 2,325 persons and recorded 123 deaths. The 
emergency department rendered services to 5,377 patients. The hospital 
had 275 employees and a payroll of about $720,000 annually. 

Gulfside Assembly, Waveland, Mississippi 

Gulfside continued to serve members of the Louisiana Conference, 
Central Jurisdiction. In 1944 Bishop Robert Elijah Jones retired. In 1954 
he bought twenty acres of land at Gulfside, moved there, and became 
superintendent in 1958, serving until his death in 1960. M. S. Davage 
was treasurer of the facility at that time. Then the owners and patrons 

'The Best of Times; the Worst of Times" 273 

were the Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Upper Mississippi, and West 
Texas Conferences. In 1964 the Shreveport District sent its largest delega- 
tion ever to the leadership school at Gulf side. 

In 1965 hurricane Betsy did much damage to the facility, and by April, 
1966, it had a deficit of nearly $19,000. Then W. T. Handy, Sr., became 
director and adopted a slogan, "Fix it up, or close it up." He went to work 
and "fixed it up" and was able to interest other groups in using the 
facilities— groups such as the Louisiana Council of Churches, the Delta 
Ministry of the National Council of Churches, Tulane's Wesley Founda- 
tion, and others. He was able to get some of the national Methodist boards 
to allocate money to refurbish buildings and provide other improvements. 
A resourceful person, Handy studied several possible directions in which 
he could steer the facility for the future, in light of changing needs of 
black Methodists. 

Soon another hurricane, Camille, struck Gulfside and it had to be 
refurbished, but was ready by midsummer. Many of Gulf side's activities 
for youth, especially in these years, were planned around themes, many 
of which dealt with political, economic, and social issues of the nation. 

As the time approached when racial lines would be dropped in The 
Methodist Church, black leaders anticipated and asked help in deciding 
on the changing role of Gulfside Assembly (and other such institutions) 
in the new day. 

Home of the Good Samaritan, Monroe 

At the time of union (1939), the Methodist Protestant Church was 
operating a home for unwed, expectant mothers, with Rev. J. R. Downs 
in charge. He founded the Home of the Good Samaritan and managed 
it until it closed in 1945. Since there were no patients in the home in 1945 
and since the building was in a very poor state of repair, a committee 
recommended that it be closed. Mr. Downs had spent his life's savings 
to keep the home going and really was not physically able to continue 
adrninistering the facility, though it was his desire. The conference deeded 
the property to Mr. Downs in recognition of his faithful work across the 
years and praised him for his dedication and labors in this work. 

Lafon Protestant Home, New Orleans 

The Lafon Home continued its fine service to the elderly. By 1964 the 
home was almost a $100,000 operation. Chief items of expense were 
salaries and wages ($46,500), building improvements ($16,000), food 
($13,400), heat, light, water, household supplies ($4,800), and medicines 
and supplies ($2,340). Chief support came from state welfare ($54,000), 
private contributions ($3,230), Community Chest ($2,100), The Methodist 
Church's Board of Hospitals and Homes ($25,000), and the Bynum Fund 

274 Becoming One People 

($8,344). It was rendering a much-needed service, and those operating 
it were dedicated persons. 

The Louisiana Methodist 

One of the essential instruments of annual conference progress is an 
effective channel of communication. Thus it was a traumatic time when 
The Louisiana Methodist ceased publication in 1946, when Dr. W. L. Duren 
retired as editor. The conference membership was disheartened at the 
prospect of being without a paper, since they had had one for almost 
a century. H. T. Carley in his tribute to Dr. Duren pointed out that "it 
will be a sad day for Methodism when Methodist preachers cease reading 
its periodical literature/' 31 

Before Dr. Duren retired he dealt with several important issues of 
concern to Methodists in 1946. On May 16 he had display type in all capital 
Dr. Duren also dealt with issues of doctrine and personal Christian faith, 
such as prayer, salvation, evangelism, the Resurrection, immortality, and 
stewardship. On February 7 he praised a Jewish woman, Mrs. Gertrude 
Sherlock Levy, who had been an outstanding civic leader in New Orleans: 
"Her influence was felt and appreciated in practically every area 
of... philanthropic and civic interests in the city." On March 14 he carried 
a statement by Robert B. Eleazer on the evil of lynching. Two weeks later 
he warned that while atomic power could bring an era of happiness and 
prosperity to rrwtkind, in the hands of unscrupulous men, it could 
destroy the human race. On May 30 he condemned the activities of the 
Ku Klux Klan. 

A committee was appointed to try to arrive at a workable plan for 
continuing a conference paper. A year later they still had not been able 
to resume publication, but they did have a proposal. They estimated that 
it would take nearly $33,000 a year to issue a paper, and they proposed 
that the conference allocate this amount among the churches on the same 
basis as World Service. The proposal of the committee was not approved. 

During the previous year W. D. Boddie had provided one page of 
news that was printed in The Christian Advocate in Chicago, and it was 
decided to continue this plan until some other was worked out. A year 
later the committee reported it had been impossible to devise a workable 
plan to publish a conference paper. The bishop was authorized to appoint 
a new publications committee, to which were named Virgil D. Morris, 
H. A. Rickey, and George Pearce, Jr. 

At the 1949 conference, the committee reported that Jolly B. Harper, 
Virgil D. Morris, and Ralph Cain had started a conference paper, again 
called The Louisiana Methodist, which was a going concern. The conference 

'The Best of Times; the Worst of Times" 275 

was asked to grant them $600 a year to help with expenses. By 1950 the 
paper seemed to be a success; it had more than 6,000 subscriptions and 
aimed at 10,000. The committee had arranged for F. G. Phillips of Plain 
Dealing to edit and publish the paper. Harper, Morris, and Cain presented 
the successful paper to the conference and were commended highly. Dur- 
ing the next year the paper expanded from a monthly to a bi-weekly 

At the 1951 conference an arrangement was made for the manage- 
ment of The Arkansas Methodist to issue a companion paper entitled The 
Louisiana Methodist, with some pages pertaining to the Arkansas-Louisiana 
Area, and two pages used exclusively for news of Louisiana churches. 
It was to be issued weekly, and the price was $1.50 per year. By 1952 
the circulation had reached 8,600. The editors and managers of The Arkan- 
sas Methodist assumed the same responsibility for both papers. By 1953 
circulation had reached about 9,800; the next year it reached 10,500. 

The Louisiana Conference was involved in an expanding public rela- 
tions activity in this era. Among the directors of public relations handling 
the gathering of news in these years, were Jeanne Mason, Jo Ann Newby, 
and Georgia Daily. In 1961 Mrs. Thomas W. Wilson was employed as 
the full time public relations person for Louisiana; she sent 1,573 copies 
of fifteen general releases to 212 news outlets, many of them to The Loui- 
siana Methodist. When the Methodist magazine Together added area news 
editions, Louisiana was involved. 

MacDonell Methodist Center, Houma 

The MacDonell Center served Indian and white children from broken 
homes and children who had been in juvenile court. It had three women 
and one man as houseparents who carried the load of directing religious 
and recreational activities. The children participated in ongoing activities 
and had regular chores to perform. There were Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 
4-H Clubs, dairying, sewing classes, and agriculture shows. There were 
about 125 children involved weekly. Deaconesses who served there in 
these years included Ella K. Hooper, Lillie J. Hendricks, Virginia Teague, 
Mildred Avery, Jennie Hood, Edna Ruth Hayes, and Mary Beth Littlejohn. 

In 1959 Rev. Harry Ezell was doing rehabilitation work with children 
placed there as wards of the court. In 1960-61 women of various local 
churches visited MacDonell Center and went back home with a new 
appreciation of the work there. 

Memorial Mercy Home/Hospital, New Orleans 

In 1943 the home had the best financial year it had ever had; total 
receipts had reached $30,000. The patients numbered ninety, and 110 new 
babies were cared for. In 1945 the three supporting conferences decided 

276 Becoming One People 

to raise funds for a new fireproof building. In 1946 Rev. and Mrs. J. G. 
Snelling relinquished their supervisory role at the home after twenty-four 
years, and he assumed the post of financial secretary to help raise funds 
for a new building. They had received ninety-nine new patients, making 
a total of 128 that year. James W. Ailor became superintendent. 

By 1947 great strides had been made in the services of the home. There 
were then three registered nurses, a full-time social worker, and other 
specialized employees. Some of this was necessary because of higher stan- 
dards by the Department of Public Welfare. 

In 1952, as L. D. Haughton became superintendent, this institution 
was called The Methodist Home Hospital. It was well along on its new 
building facilities, which were to make it one of the best equipped and 
most complete maternity hospitals in the South. It held membership in 
the American Hospital Association. 

In 1954 the home was refused licensing for one aspect of its work 
and was censured for other inadequacies. Licenses were issued for only 
one month at a time for several months as improvements were made. 
They finally remedied all the defects. Haughton spoke nearly every Sun- 
day at some church, and created good will -and obtained contributions! 
He praised the faithful, hardworking staff highly. Mrs. Haughton served 
in every way possible and without salary. 

The adoptive homes for the babies were carefully selected and out 
of 300 babies adopted not one had been withdrawn. In 1961 the home 
cared for 132 young mothers— the highest number for many years. In the 
past eight years they had placed 440 babies. The home also provided 
scholarships for young women to secure professional training in medical- 
related fields, such as social work. A woman's auxiliary of 300 members 
was helpful in securing additional equipment. Haughton had a slight 
stroke in 1962-63 and resigned. Jack Midyett was elected the new 

Methodist Orphanage, Ruston 

In the mid-1940s the Louisiana Methodist Orphanage had sizable 
funds for building needed facilities. One memorial fund for a dormitory 
for older girls amounted to $25,000. About $17,000 was designated for 
a chapel, and $2,000 had been earmarked for an infirmary. T. L. James 
was chairman of the Board, and C. B. White had been superintendent 
since 1937. Fourteen students were in college in 1943, and the older boys 
were in the armed services. There were 148 children in the home in 
1944— less than a few years before. The reduction in residents brought 
the home into compliance with a new law regarding the capacity of such 

The orphanage had the services of a small sanitarium on their 
grounds, which served the children at half the regular cost. The name 

'The Best of Times; the Worst of Times" 277 

of the health facility was the Ruston-Lincoln Sanitarium, Inc. In 1945 O. 
H. Voran took charge of the vocational and recreational tasks. A new dor- 
mitory for girls was begun in the same year, to be named the T. L. James, 
Jr., Memorial Dormitory. It was a gift from the James Company in honor 
of Mr. James, recently deceased. 

During several of these years the amount of foodstuff raised on the 
farm had decreased, thus increasing the expenditure for food. Never- 
theless, the farm continued to render excellent service. By 1949 the Loui- 
siana Department of Human Welfare certified the home to be adequate 
for 120 children. A new recreation building was erected in 1950, and a 
contract was let that year for a new sanitarium. By 1951 the home had 
a part-time recreation director. 

By 1954 the orphanage followed a trend that began elsewhere; it built 
two small cottages, each of which would house twelve girls and a matron. 
In that year the charter was revised, and while the legal name remained 
the same, it was to be called the Methodist Children's Home. The next 
year the Children's Home was able to erect a $200,000 two-story dormitory 
and dining hall -financed from money accumulated from bequests 
through wills. 

In 1958 the report of the Children's Home mentioned that most of 
the children were not orphans, but from disturbed homes. The report 
of 1960 reiterated the growing number of children from disturbed homes. 
C. B. White, who had served as superintendent for twenty-three years, 
asked to be replaced so he could retire. Harry E. Ezell was appointed and 
within a year defined the work of the home as being primarily to help 
children overcome the emotional shock of losing their homes. By 1963 
the home was licensed for foster home work, a move which reflected its 
new emphasis. 

People's Community Center, New Orleans 

In 1954 Mrs. Pearl Turnbull, teacher at the center, reported that the 
area around the center was very crowded during the war years, and many 
mothers had been forced to work outside the home. This increased the 
demand for baby and child care. The center provided this and also served 
the elderly through a Golden Age Club. 

By 1964 People's Center was taking care of seventy-five children in 
the nursery, eighty-five in kindergarten, and forty-six in primary school. 
More than 200 boys and girls were in clubs, classes, and other activities. 
Mrs. Turnbull's report indicated their activities had outgrown the facilities. 
The budget for operations had grown to about $46,000. In 1964 the center 
had twelve major events, including several festivals, four tours, several 
visiting groups, and other community events. Much financial support 
came from the Board of Home Missions of The Methodist Church, and 
the Conference Woman's Society —plus the United Fund of New Orleans. 

278 Becoming One People 

Among the earlier superintendents were W. T. Handy, Sr., and George 
W. Carter, Jr.; in 1965 Richard W. Calvin filled the post. 

The center served that area of Louisiana having the largest number 
of disadvantaged people. This church agency was definitely challenged 
by the needs of the community. 

Sager Brown School, Baldwin 

The title of the school was changed in this era from Sager Brown 
School and Godman Home to simply Sager Brown School. There was, 
however, no change in its service to black children. The children at the 
school fell into four categories: orphans, children from broken homes, 
children of working parents, and children who needed to live in groups. 
About sixty children lived in dormitories, with about ninety coming daily 
from the community. The school was state approved. Frame buildings 
had been replaced with air conditioned brick structures. In 1963 
Superintendent Rosie Ann Cobb and her staff of sixteen workers ran the 
home. The conference School of Christian Missions was held at the school 
in June-July, 1963. 

In 1965 Judith Doyle, a teacher at Sager Brown, was approved for 
commissioning as a deaconess. Also serving at the school in 1965 was 
Barbara Boultinghouse. 

St. Mark's Community Center, New Orleans 

In 1954 St. Mark's offered numerous activities for children and youth: 
Boy Scouts, craft groups, dramatic groups, athletics (baseball, football, 
swimming), parties, outings, festivals -and more. There were personal 
counseling, visits in homes, a day care center, and religious services. 
Camping had been added, and that was a new experience for many girls 
and boys. Leaders began to search for a permanent camp site for a St. 
Mark's camping program. Fay L. Daves, a deaconess, served as director 
of St. Mark's in 1965. 

Seashore Assembly Grounds, Biloxi, Mississippi 

R. H. Harrell, retired member of the Louisiana Conference, became 
superintendent of Seashore Methodist Assembly on December 1, 1943. 
Financial condition of the enterprise was reported greatly improved at 
the 1943 annual conference, and several buildings were being 
rehabilitated. In 1947 a new, large kitchen was built, and the school 
building was renovated. The record of the period includes a familiar note 
for the Gulf region: "The wharf was put in good condition, but was 
washed away by the hurricane/' 32 

'The Best of Times; the Worst of Times" 279 

In 1952 the Conference Board of Education reported that groups in 
the state were still using facilities at Seashore. In 1955 the Louisiana Con- 
ference relinquished its one-third ownership to the Mississippi Conference 
on the understanding that a Methodist church be built there. Again, in 
1961, the Louisiana Conference gave permission to a new plan for the 
Mississippi Conference to provide housing for the elderly there. 

Student Centers 

The Louisiana Conference was diligent in looking after the spiritual 
welfare of students in state educational institutions. One of the earliest 
efforts at campus ministry we have noted already. Joe Brown Love helped 
pioneer in this work at several state schools, and Clifford Zirkel took it 
up later. 

In 1941 a plea was made for a Methodist church at Louisiana State 
University. Under the leadership of J. Henry Bowdon, Sr., a church was 
organized in 1941 with B. A. Galloway as pastor. At first some leaders 
feared the new church would pull some members away from First Church. 
At conference that fall William E. Trice was appointed to the student center 
at LSU, and a commission began to raise funds for a building to house 
the center. Leaders of the conference served on this commission over the 
next several years. The liberality of the William B. Reily family made a 
church building possible, and it was named as a memorial to Mr. Reily. 
E. C. Gunn was most instrumental in the leadership of this project; others 
were Lewis N. Stuckey, W. L. Doss, W. E. Trice, and J. H. Cain. William 
E. Trice began a remarkable pastorate there in 1941, and it continued to 
1966, when he was named pastor of University Park Church, Dallas. 

In 1947 over 4,000 Methodist students were ministered to in eight 
Wesley Foundation groups. Six campuses had full-time directors, two 
were served by pastors. The need for additional support and new 
buildings was obvious. 

By 1951 there were Wesley Foundation buildings on these campuses: 
Louisiana State University, Southwestern Institute, Northeast College, 
and McNeese College. Later buildings were secured at Northwestern Col- 
lege, and Tulane University. In 1953-54 Mrs. William E. Trice was secretary 
of student work for the Woman's Society and reported progress in attract- 
ing foreign students to church activities. With the financial help of many 
societies, student delegates were able to attend the National Student Con- 
ference in Lawrence, Kansas. 

By 1964 there was a Methodist program of student work in fifteen 
of the institutions of higher education in Louisiana— twelve were provided 
by the Louisiana Conference, South Central Jurisdiction and three by the 
Louisiana Conference, Central Jurisdiction. In the Louisiana Conference, 
S. C. J., the twelve institutions had 50,938 students enrolled, of whom 
6,801 were listed as Methodists. There were also about 600 Methodist 

280 Becoming One People 

faculty members in these schools. Permanent student center buildings 
had been constructed at Louisiana Tech, McNeese, Northeast, North- 
western, Southeastern, and the University of Southwest Louisiana; tem- 
porary buildings existed at LSU and Tulane. Guy Nelson, William M. 
Stokes, Jr., and Jack Winegeart were prominent in this work. 

Varied Special Ministries 33 

A number of other special types of ministries are carried on in Loui- 
siana. In this era some of those described below were started new, and 
some were continuing. 

The Bob Lay Memorial 1000 Club 

This project was started in 1952 by a group of interested laymen led 
by Bob Lay, a member of First Church, Shreveport and at one time con- 
ference lay leader. It was begun on the basis of enlisting 1,000 persons 
in the conference who would give ten dollars three times a year to raise 
$30,000 to help three new churches get started each year. In recent years 
the club has grown to over 3,000 members, who give around $100,000 
a year for this cause. Since 1952 over a million and a half dollars have 
been given to help about 100 churches. 

The Conference Disaster Relief Committee 

This cause was especially needed in Louisiana, since it is subject fre- 
quently to floods and hurricanes. It provides help to relieve loss or suf- 
fering caused by any natural disaster. It works closely with the American 
Red Cross, Church World Service, and other such groups. 

The Felicity Urban Outreach 

The Felicity United Methodist Church is located in an area of New 
Orleans where there are many problems— poverty, unemployment, and 
strife among divergent groups. The church maintains a Sunday night soup 
kitchen, a food bank with emergency groceries for families in need, and 
a day care center. 

Hughes United Methodist Center 

Located in the Eden Park area of Baton Rouge (the most impover- 
ished area of the city), the Hughes United Methodist Center operates a 
day care center, supervised after school recreation, sewing and knitting 
classes for teenagers and adults, and a day camp during the summer. 

'The Best of Times; the Worst of Times" 281 

The center also provides food, clothing, housing, legal assistance, and 
job placement. The center was planned jointly by L. L. Haynes and Dana 
Dawson, Jr., and their congregations. 

Louisiana Methodist World Hunger Scholarship 

This program helps to equip persons from developing nations to 
attack hunger at its roots. It offers a three year scholarship to scientists 
from such nations to study at the Ph.D. level ways to improve food pro- 
ductivity in their own lands. The first student was from Thailand, and 
since then they have come from Liberia, the Philippines, Cameroon, India, 
and Nepal. 

Metropolitan Ministries of New Orleans 

This United Methodist agency is concerned about persons in the city 
who need food, clothing, shelter, and other necessities. It works for crime 
prevention and with those who have criminal records and now are try- 
ing to "go straight/' 

Metropolitan Ministries of Shreveport 

This agency of the church seeks to develop programs and activities 
for black churches and communities. Members of this agency help 
churches start such programs and activities as tutoring classes, day care 
centers, church athletic leagues, summer camping, scouting, and 
neighborhood centers. They also work with an interfaith committee for 
human justice. 

Revolving Loan Fund 

This fund serves to finance new buildings and improvements and 
repairs on church buildings and parsonages. Gifts from Louisiana 
Methodists are solicited. 

Spanish Speaking Ministry 

This ministry serves the large number of Spanish speaking people 
of New Orleans. It is centered at First Methodist Church, and includes 
a regular Sunday morning worship service, Sunday school, and youth 
fellowship meetings. It also deals with problems of housing, language, 
employment, and family relations among Spanish speaking persons. It 
is establishing a Spanish library. 

282 Becoming One People 

Archives and History 

Louisiana Methodists, black and white, are proud of their history and 
find that one can fully understand the church today only by knowing 
how it developed into what it is. Each new generation of Methodists is 
well served if it is taught this history. In this way we are able to establish 
unity and continuity with that great company of witnesses who are no 
longer confined to our time and space. Members of the Louisiana Con- 
ference with a Methodist Episcopal background refer proudly to the twelve 
black preachers who made up the roster when that conference was 
organized in 1865-1866. The records of the Louisiana M. E. Conference 
are kept at Dillard University. Bishop W. T. Handy, Jr., has been helpful 
in preserving historical records of that conference. 

W. W. Holmes presented a full set of minutes of the Louisiana Con- 
ference, M. E. Church, South (some typed, some printed) to the Loui- 
siana Conference, and in 1943 these were deposited in the Cline Room 
at Centenary College Library. A fine collection of local church histories 
has also been secured and placed there. Miss Carolyn Garison, an effi- 
cient librarian, is currently in charge of the Methodist records in the Cline 
Room and renders helpful assistance to those using archival material. 

In 1949 Robert Henry Harper, secretary of the M. E., South Con- 
ference for twenty-eight years (1920-1947), produced a volume compress- 
ing the significant actions of the annual sessions of that conference from 
1847 to 1947. It was called Louisiana Methodism. More recently the chairper- 
sons of the commission have been R. L. Clayton, Sr., 1961-63 ; J. Henry 
Bowdon, Sr., 1964-68 ; Walter Lowrey, 1968-70. Mrs. W. M. Nolan, 
descendant of a pioneer family, has rendered devoted service. She became 
chairperson of the commission in 1971, serving until 1975, after which 
she has continued her interest and helpfulness. 

A Short Look Backward 

This era saw many changes in Louisiana Methodist church life. For 
one thing, a good increase in numerical and financial strength gave 
evidence of vitality. There was an increase in total members in the church 
but also in the sub groups such as Sunday school and women's groups. 

The Louisiana Conference, Central Jurisdiction grew from 13,661 
members in 1945 to 18,325 in 1965. The Louisiana Conference, South Cen- 
tral Jurisdiction numbered 86,168 in 1945 and grew to 122,997 in 1965. 

WSCS membership had increased in the conference, S. C. J. from 
9,718 in 1945 to 15,268 in 1965. Their annual giving had grown in the same 
period from $87,123 to $285,939. The women of the Central Jurisdiction 
Louisiana Conference increased their giving from $13,347 in 1945 to 

'The Best of Times; the Worst of Times" 283 

$20,914 in 1965. The General Minutes for this period do not include 
membership figures for Central Jurisdiction conferences. 

Sunday school membership had also increased for both conferences. 
The conference, S. C. J., had grown from 43,420 to 80,006, whereas the 
C. J. conference increase was disappointingly meager: in 1945 it was 9,110, 
and in 1965 it was 9,516. That conference lacked in both physical facilities 
and personnel. 

These figures indicate growth, but what about quality? Is bigger also 
better? Had the dedication, understanding, compassion, and good will 
increased? Dedication had always been very much in evidence on the part 
of most of the members and the leaders. There were also numerous signs 
that Methodists were growing in the faith. The fact that they were giving 
more money to the church meant not only that they had more money, 
but also that many of them believed that God was the provider of all the 
blessings that came to them. Thus they felt a compulsion to share their 
blessings with others through the channels of the church. 

Similarly, many of them, perhaps most, had concluded that God is 
the Father of all mankind, and thus that all persons are God's children, 
and must be treated as such. This meant no segregation and no second- 
class citizenship. That prompted them to seek ways to remove the bar- 
riers between persons of different color or nationality. They were taking 
seriously the New Testament admonition, "He who loves God should 
love his brother also." (I John 4:21b). 


United We Stand 
1966 - 1986 

1 he major event in this era was the merger of black and white 
Methodists in Louisiana into one annual conference. This combining of 
the two conferences* — and other factors — called for a major reorganiza- 
tion in structure, in personnel, and in relationship. 

In addition to the merger, the conference experienced other impor- 
tant changes: uniting and centralizing the location of area offices and the 
episcopal residence after merger, the loss of a beloved bishop, J. Ken- 
neth Shamblin, increasing the endowment of Centenary College from $6.5 
million in 1977 to $18 million in 1984, boosting Dillard University's enroll- 
ment, and improving the quality of Dillard's faculty. 

The influence and impact of Methodism on the population of Loui- 
siana during the last twenty years has been substantial. Local churches 
held worship services every Sunday; Sunday schools guided children, 
youth, and adults; women's groups met and worked; annual conferences 
deliberated and planned; and hospitals, homes, and other institutions 
functioned every day of the year. There was, however, a cloud on the 
horizon; church membership was declining. In the Louisiana Conference, 
S. C. J., membership fell from 123,397 in 1966 to 119,202 in 1971; and 
in the Central Jurisdiction's Louisiana Conference it fell from 19,880 in 
1966 to 18,012 in 1971. This decline was not, however, unique to Loui- 
siana but occurred across the denomination. 

The professional quality of the clergy improved as an increasing 
number of ministers received seminary education. Sermons dealt more 
frequently with living as Christians day to day and less with abstract 
theological hair-splitting, although basic theological understanding was 
still considered very important. 

Lay members were much more prominent in the decision-making 
areas of church life, a trend that had been increasing for some time. 
Women were moving in greater numbers into more areas of church 
leadership -the ordained ministry, official boards in local churches, annual 
conferences, jurisdictional conferences, and the General Conference. 

From 1968 to 1971 the Louisiana Conference in the South Central Jurisdiction 
was called A; the Conference in the Central Jurisdiction was called B. 


United We Stand 285 

The high point of this era, however, was the merger of 1971. Its evolu- 
tion may be divided into three periods: 

1966 - 1971 The Years of Preparation 

1971 The Year of Consummation 

1972 - 1986 The Years of Accommodation 

Singling out the merger of the two conferences as the focus for much 
of the activity from 1966 to 1971 is not to imply that little else of significance 
was happening. Louisiana Methodists were involved in many significant 
decisions— and actions— in these years. 

Years of Preparation in the Louisiana Conference, 
South Central Jurisdiction 

The Louisiana Conference, S. C. J., settled into a routine of meeting 
annually at Centenary College. Beginning in 1956, it has met there every 
year except 1963, when it met in New Orleans at First Church. Special 
sessions between the annual meetings, however, were held elsewhere. 

In 1965, the Louisiana Conference, S. C. J., considered a proposal 
from the Interjurisdictional Committee of the South Central Jurisdiction 
and the Southwestern Area of the Central Jurisdiction which, essentially, 
was asking for the eventual merging of the two Louisiana conferences. 
Jolly B. Harper was chairman of the Committee on Interjurisdictional Rela- 
tions proposing the merger. The report suggested a "getting acquainted" 
period of several years before actual merger. Speaking against adoption 
were seven laymen listed in the Conference Journal: Judge V. M. Mouser, 
Robert Roland, J. C. Taylor, Hugh Whatley, Don Hinton, Carlton Johnson, 
and David Hancock. Speaking for it were six ministers and one layman: 
Benjamin R. Oliphint, Tom Matheny, Ebb Munden, A. D. St. Amant, 
Douglas Jackson, Carl Lueg, and William E. Trice. Trice gave the final 
speech, summing up the reasons he favored adoption. The proposal failed 
by a vote of 239 to 215. 

In 1966 the Board of Christian Social Concerns in the Louisiana Con- 
ference, S. C. J., invited their counterparts in the Central Jurisdiction to 
attend their meetings and to attend their district training workshops, 
spiritual life retreats, seminars of mental health, and similar gatherings. 
They also urged that the ongoing district ministers' meetings include 
ministers from both conferences. The proponents of merger brought a 
further proposal in 1967 to eliminate as soon as possible all forms of racial 
structure in the church. This proposal was adopted by a vote of 234 to 176. 

In addition, this S. C. J. conference would be asked to vote on 
approval or disapproval of the plan to merge The Methodist Church and 
the Evangelical United Brethren Church. The plan did not provide for 

286 Becoming One People 

a separate jurisdiction for black members of the new, united church which 
would result, and presumably this caused the Louisiana Conference, S. 
C. J., to oppose the plan; the vote was 264 against and 189 for the union. 
The Central Jurisdiction's Louisiana Conference approved the union. The 
Methodist Church nationally voted for union, and it was consummated 
in 1968, thus eliminating the Central Jurisdiction in the newly created 
United Methodist Church. 

From 1968 to 1971 both Louisiana Conferences were in the South Cen- 
tral Jurisdiction, and for clarity and convenience the former Louisiana Con- 
ference, S. C. J., was called Louisiana Conference A (since it was organ- 
ized in 1847) and the former Central Jurisdiction Conference was called 
Louisiana Conference B (since was organized later, in 1869). 

In 1969 Conference A discussed a proposal from its advisory Com- 
mittee on Interconference Affairs that the two Louisiana Conferences be 
merged, with details to be presented in 1970. This time the proposal 
passed by the large margin of 289 to 157. Plans for merger could now 
proceed in earnest. 

Teaching in the Sunday school during the late sixties was greatly 
improved because of more careful selection of teachers and better teaching 
resources. In addition, teachers had opportunities for training in better 
techniques and in a deeper understanding of the meaning of the Chris- 
tian faith. Professionally trained directors of Christian education were 
employed by many churches. 

Sunday school enrollment of children and youth in Conference A had 
declined from 26,092 in 1966 to 19,037 in 1971. Youth membership also 
had declined, from 15,985 to 11,926. Adult membership held fairly steady: 
24,917 earlier and 22,692 in 1971. 

Membership in women's societies in Conference A had increased by 
nearly 2,000, to 16,500 by 1971, and their annual giving for missions had 
increased about $45,000, to $170,000. Most important, their understand- 
ing of the faith and Christian responsibility in the world had broadened 
as indicated by the nature of their literature and the enthusiasm with 
which they studied, discussed, and followed it. 

As early as 1961, the Louisiana Conference, S. C. J., had created an 
area council, composed of leaders of boards and other agencies. In 1963 
J. Henry Bowdon, Sr., was named Director of the Council. It brought 
coordination between the boards, the bishop, the treasurer, the director 
of Methodist information, and the district superintendents. A lay person 
was placed on the council staff; in 1966 John Hereford became Lay 
Associate Director. In 1966 Luman E. Douglas succeeded Bowdon as Area 
Council Director. Staff members then were K. G. Rorie, Cecil Bland, J. 
C. Skinner, and Georgia Daily. In that year a monthly publication called 
Saddlebags was initiated and a convocation of boards held. In 1968 Earl 
B. Emmerich joined the staff. 

United We Stand 


Courtesy W. D. Boddie 

Photo by Don Graham 
Shreveport Journal 

1970 Cabinet - Conference A 
Left to right: Clyde S. Clark, G. W. Pomeroy, W. D. Boddie, Harvey G. William- 
son, Merlin W. Merrill, human E. Douglas, W. Ralph Cain, James J. Caraway, 
Bishop Aubrey G. Walton, and Jack Cooke. 

Board of the Laity 

Louisiana Conference A was unusually fortunate in its lay leaders. 
Bob Lay did effective work in the previous era, and in that time the 1000 
Club was started. Howard Daughenbaugh, Sr., gave outstanding 

288 Becoming One People 

leadership in succeeding years. Tom H. Matheny continued the standard 
set by the other two; he achieved national prominence in the church as 
a member and president of the Judicial Council, an office he still holds. 
He was especially level-headed and forward-looking in the tense years 
of merging the two Louisiana conferences. 

The Board of the Laity studied the ministerial salary structure, and 
by 1969 was directing training sessions for lay delegates to annual con- 
ferences and lay schools of theology. In 1970 Matheny reported six lay 
schools of theology had been held in the conference, and there were over 
300 certified lay speakers. The board also provided correct information 
about the National Council of Churches, the Consultation on Church 
Union, the Black Manifesto, the Wesley Foundation program, and the 
actions of the General Conference of 1972— all of which, unfortunately, 
were somewhat controversial. The Board of the Laity, at a crucial time 
in the history of campus ministry, exerted strong leadership for fully sup- 
porting that ministry. 

Wind and water from hurricane Betsy on September 9, 1965, dam- 
aged twenty- two of the twenty-three churches in the New Orleans area. 
Both conferences quickly ascertained ministers' personal losses, and the 
national Board of Home Missions sent reimbursements for these losses 
within thirty hours. 

Archives and History Commission 

The conference's archival collection at Centenary College was being 
improved. The minutes of sessions of both conferences across the years 
had been put on microfilm, as well as the entire file of the issues of the 
New Orleans Christian Advocate. The materials kept earlier in Felicity Church 
in New Orleans were deposited at the college. 

Mrs. W. M. Nolan, as chairperson (1971-75), was working to com- 
plete the data on over seventy-five deceased members of the conference. 
She called attention to the national journal, Methodist History. 

In 1966 the commission encouraged persons to go to the bicenten- 
nial celebration of American Methodism in Baltimore, and about ten per- 
sons made the trip. Dan W. Tohline rode his horse to Baltimore to reenact 
the experiences of the circuit riders. The next year Walter Lowrey of 
Centenary College was authorized by the conference to attend each district 
conference in an effort to urge and stimulate interest in proper care of 
local church records. 

Social Concerns 

The Board of Social Concerns in Conference A in 1966 urged pastors 
to preach on the Methodist Social Creed and to study the treatment of 
law offenders. It commended the work of a citizens' committee headed 

United We Stand 289 

by former Governor Sam Jones, a Methodist, concerned with rehabilita- 
tion of prisoners. It also dealt with problems of alcohol consumption. 

The concern of Louisiana Methodists for the ill was illustrated by a 
gift of $60,000 to the New Orleans Methodist Hospital by the T. L. James 
Company of Ruston. Five Louisiana Methodists attended a convocation 
on theology and medicine in Rochester, Minnesota during the year of 

The conference created a Methodist inner-city parish in New Orleans, 
seeking to strengthen the programs of inner-city churches and to coor- 
dinate various Methodist efforts to minister to the neglected people of 
the city. It did the same in Shreveport at a later time. A comprehensive 
report by the Board of Social Concerns dealing with major problems in 
America concerning such matters as world peace, violence, alcoholism, 
pornography, sex education in public schools, housing, and aging was 
adopted in 1971. 

Woman's Society of Christian Service 1 

Under the leadership of Mrs. George W. Dameron, the society and 
the Wesleyan Service Guild (for employed women) in Conference A con- 
tinued to increase their giving, even in the face of a slight decrease in 
members. They reported in 1966 that five young women from Louisiana 
had gone into regular or short-term missionary service. Also they were 
holding special meetings with the women of Conference B. 

In 1967 Mrs. Charles B. McGowan succeeded Mrs. Dameron as presi- 
dent of the conference WSCS. Conference leadership invited the women 
of the two EUB churches and women of Conference B to attend their 
annual meeting. In 1968 the union of The Methodist Church and the 
Evangelical United Brethren Church created The United Methodist 
Church. The 1968 merger changed the name from Woman's to Women's 
Society of Christian Service. In 1972 the new name of United Methodist 
Women was adopted. 

An itinerary to each of the eight districts was arranged in 1967-68, 
with Francis Brockman of the office of Overseas Relief as speaker. Linda 
Boddie, daughter of Rev. and Mrs. W. D. Boddie, volunteered to serve 
for two years of mission work in the United States. In 1968-69 the WSCS 
sent $168,683 to the Women's Division in New York. One hundred or 
more women from Louisiana attended the national assembly of the WSCS 
in Houston, where there were about 10,000 in attendance. Mrs. G. W. 
Dameron, former president of the conference WSCS, was announced as 
the state president of the interdenominational Church Women United 
in 1971. 

290 Becoming One People 

The Years of Preparation in the Louisiana Conference, 
Central Jurisdiction 

Between 1966 and 1971 members of the Central Jurisdiction's Loui- 
siana Conference were heartened because they sensed they were on the 
road to merger with their white colleagues in the other Louisiana Con- 
ference. They had consistently approved all plans or proposals that would 
expedite merger. In 1967 they approved unanimously a resolution "for 
the elimination of racial structure and the development of greater 
understanding and brotherhood in The Methodist Church." The con- 
ference also adopted unanimously a statement which declared, "There 
shall be no jurisdiction... based on any ground other than 
geographical. . .division." 2 

Leaders of the conference were aware that merger with the other Loui- 
siana Conference would bring complications, such as the future of 
Gulf side, which was geographically in the Southeastern Jurisdiction rather 
than the South Central. William Talbot Handy, Sr., who was director of 
Gulfside in these years, was aware of this dilemma and was studying 
the alternatives. In his judgment Gulfside had to serve the church in the 
area where it was located. 3 In looking ahead to merger, Conference B 
member L. L. Haynes, Jr., declared to the members of the conference, 
"This does not mean that the... spiritual life style of black people will be 
absorbed. A religion nurtured in suffering will not suddenly vanish." 4 

Barry Bailey of Shreveport attended the Central Jurisdiction's con- 
ference in 1966 as the fraternal delegate from his own conference, and 
District Superintendent Bentley Sloane was also present. In a first step, 
the conference recommended that pastors attend either the pastor's school 
at Gulfside or the one held at Centenary College. 

As Bishop Noah W. Moore preached the closing sermon of the 1967 
session he said, "The Creed of Christianity begins with 'We believe' and 
ends with 'We are involved,' 'We love,' 'We are concerned.'... We must 
become a nation without walls with God to lead." 5 

The Central Jurisdiction Conference in 1967 had more women plan- 
ning for the ministry than the Louisiana Conference, S. C. J. In that year, 
the future Conference B listed seven women and twelve men who were 
planning to enter the ministry. The future Conference A named only one 
woman and nineteen men. W. T. Handy, Jr., was for many years chair- 
man of the Board of Ordained Ministry, and Richard W. Calvin was the 
registrar. They helped raise the standard of entering ministers. Charles 
Teamer, Vice President for Finance and Administration of Dillard Univer- 
sity, was helpful in the business affairs of the conference and was elected 
conference treasurer in 1971. 

The district superintendents in their composite report of 1968, pointed 
out that some churches were too small to provide adequately trained 

United We Stand 291 

leadership; some of the churches, therefore, were merged or abandoned 
in order to strengthen the remaining churches or charges. 

The next year, as merger approached, the district superintendents 
admonished, "Everything that we do in the future must be with the 
thought that we are moving into an ALL-INCLUSIVE CHURCH. There 
are many who do not believe this DREAM possible.../' They concluded 
by saying, "As we face the uniting of our forces with those of Conference 
A, we are also praying for wise understanding of the problems which 
challenge all of us and for wisdom to act with Christian love in helping 
to solve these many obstacles/' 6 

In the 1970 session of Conference B, J. C. Gibbons, conference 
secretary and chairman of the Quadrennial Emphasis Committee, lifted 
the general feeling of the conference as he spoke: "God is speaking 
through the disillusioned, the angry ones, the rejected, the depersonal- 
ized, the searching ones in our world.... Can we do other than listen.... 
Let us open our hearts as well as our lips to the pressing reality of God's 
Will and His call to the Church." 7 

A unique feature of Conference B across the years was the role of 
the Ministers' Wives' Association. Its chief purpose was to provide 
fellowship among the wives of ministers, to help each other in times of 
need or stress, and to raise a scholarship for young ministers in seminary. 
They concentrated in these years on raising money for the ministers' pen- 
sion fund. In 1967 they raised $10,265; in 1968, $9,042; and in 1969, $6,507. 
To help in pensions for retired ministers, the conference early in this era 
adopted the church wide ministers' reserve pension fund. This step enabl- 
ed the conference to place their pension funds with the General Board 
of Pensions that was managed by investments experts. 

Woman's Society of Christian Service 

In 1966 Mrs. Veora Lundy, president of the Conference B WSCS, 
reported that members of the executive committees of both Louisiana Con- 
ferences met jointly in a meaningful retreat in Baton Rouge during the 
year. In addition, seventeen women from the conference societies 
attended the 1965 Gulf Regional School of Christian Missions held at 
Southern Methodist University. It was an interracial meeting. 

In 1967, persons from both jurisdictions attended a workshop on mis- 
sions in Algiers. Many women of the Wesley an Service Guild helped those 
who suffered injury or loss when hurricane Betsy struck in that year. 

In 1968 leaders of the societies of the two conferences met in Omaha 
at the jurisdiction meeting and planned certain joint activities. Ethel Alston 
commented, "His church is marching on," as she reported the first time 
in history that women of the two jurisdictions had met together with no 
segregation. The next year Alston reported that repeatedly she had the 
new experience of integrated meetings, as various groups in the church 


Becoming One People 

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United We Stand 293 

were dropping racial distinctions. She described these as a "unique 
pleasure" and "a very rich experience." 8 

In 1971 Ethel Alston and Mrs. Charles B. McGowan reported that 
plans were made to merge the women's groups of the two conferences 
on September 24-26. They expressed appreciation for assistance to Bishop 
Walton, Tom H. Matheny, and J. Woodrow Hearn for their generous 

When the merger plan was presented to Conference B for adoption, 
there was an understandable hesitancy on the part of some members. 
They had prayed, pleaded, and fought for equality in every aspect of their 
church relationship, but now that it was near they realized that in addi- 
tion to the gains there would also be a few losses. Not all problems would 
be solved by merger, and realization of this possibility prompted what 
Edward A. Kennedy, Jr., associate director of the program council, 
referred to as "the seeming lethargy on the part of the conference in the 
anticipation of merger." 9 In the midst of the discussion of the merger plan, 
A. E. Davis stated that he was opposed to adopting the plan without fur- 
ther study and explanation. Although he favored merging, he asked for 
more time to study the proposal. W. S. P. Norris stated that he was against 
certain features of the document. Consequently, a sizable bloc of thirty- 
five votes was cast against the plan, while 107 were cast for it. Thus it 
had cleared the last hurdle, but not unanimously. 

The Year of Consummation 

Finally all the details were worked out for the merger, and the two 
Louisiana United Methodist Conferences (A and B) met jointly at 7:30 
P.M. on Monday, May 31, 1971, to begin the process of merging. They 
met in the physical education center (popularly called the "Gold Dome") 
at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana. 

Presiding was Bishop Aubrey G. Walton, assisted by Bishop Willis 
J. King and Bishop Paul E. Martin. Bishop Walton had been carefully nur- 
turing this movement since his assignment in 1960. "Blacks and whites 
alike credited him more than any other person with accomplishing the 
merger, and he himself admitted having pushed hard for a timetable 
which would complete the merger in 1971." So wrote John Lovelace, staff 
reporter for the Christian Advocate, on June 24, 1971. 

The session began with the service of Holy Communion. Robert F. 
Harrington read the Scripture lesson, and the sermon was preached by 
Douglas L. McGuire. Following the sermon, the names of those ministers 
and ministers' wives who had died during the year were called. Bishop 
King led in the "Prayer of Consecration." The three bishops served the 
elements to more than 2,800 communicants. On Tuesday morning each 
conference held a business session, Conference A meeting in Brown 

294 Becoming One People 

Chapel on Centenary's campus and Conference B meeting in St. James 
United Methodist Church. 

The Service of Closing 

Each conference again met separately in the afternoon at the same 
places as in the morning for a "Service of Closing/' The meeting of Con- 
ference A featured a sermon by Jolly B. Harper, who used as the title 
of his message, "A Witness of Faith and Love/ 7 This was followed by 
a 'Time of Remembrance and Thanksgiving ,, led by two laymen and two 
ministers. A hymn of brotherhood, "Blest Be the Tie That Binds," was 
followed by a "Prayer of Gratitude and Hope" by Bishop Walton. "True- 
hearted, Whole-hearted" was sung as a hymn of dedication, after which 
the benediction was given by Richard Hebert. 

W. T. Handy, Jr., presided at Conference B, where the session began 
with singing familiar hymns. L. L. Haynes, Jr., gave a summary of the 
history of Conference B. Names of pastors and of district superintendents 
across the years were read, and six members of the conference each gave 
a three-minute talk on highlights of one decade in the past sixty years. 

Bishop Walton expressed his appreciation of the fine fellowship and 
cooperation he had found in the conference. He quoted G. Leon Netter- 
ville "that he realized he had a Bishop who, when he sits down with him, 
forgets the color of his skin." 10 Bishop King gave a closing prayer, a friend- 
ship circle was formed, and the congregation joined in singing, "We are 
Climbing Jacob's Ladder." 

The Service of Merging 

On the evening of Tuesday, June 1, both conferences met together 
for the final step of merger in a resplendent service with Bishop Walton 
in charge, assisted by Bishops King and Martin. It consisted of hymns, 
choral responses, confessions, assurances, prayers, affirmations, reading 
of Holy Scriptures, anthems, offerings, presentations, declarations, 
covenants, and a benediction. There were many participants, including 
many prominent people, such as, Jolly B. Harper, Nathaniel P. Williams, 
Mrs. C. B. McGowan, Ethel Alston, Thomas H. Matheny, G. Leon 
Netterville, Benjamin R. Oliphint, W. Talbot Handy, Jr., J. Woodrow 
Hearn, Jack Cooke, Luman E. Douglas, James W. Wilson, James J. 
Caraway, Mrs. O. B. Medlock, Benjamin Moon, Rhett Myers, Dorinda 
Murry, James Stewart, Mrs. Glenn Jeff ery, Mrs. Glenn E. Laskey, Chap- 
man J. Harrison, James Poole, Jr., Patti Jones, David Williams, Melinda 
Vickery, Howard L. Milo, Garland C. Dean, Cecil Bland, W. O. Lynch, 
Jr., R. Leonard Cooke, Charles C. Teamer, Clyde S. Clark, Merlin W. 
Merrill, Harvey G. Williamson, W. D. Boddie, Robert Harrington, W. 
Ralph Cain, W. Talbot Handy, Sr., Razzie Ray Branton, Jeffery C Bibbons, 

United We Stand 


Courtesy W. D. Boddie 

Photo by Jack Barham 

Service of Merger 
Bishop Willis /. King, Bishop Aubrey G. Walton and Bishop Paul E. Martin 

Nathaniel P. Williams 
and Jolly B. Harper 

Rhett Myers and 
Benjamin Moon 

Miss Ethel Alston and 
Mrs. Charles B. McGowan 

G. Leon Netterville, Jr. and 
Thomas H. Matheny 

296 Becoming One People 

G. W. Pomeroy, Paul E. Martin, Willis J. King, Aubrey G. Walton, A. 
C. Voran, and Robert N. Hallquist. Those who were present will never 
forget the occasion. 

Near the close of the service, Bishop Walton's words seemed to sum 
up a great deal of what participants must have been thinking and feeling: 

Give to all men the mind of Christ, and dispose our days in thy place, 
O God. Take from us all hatred and prejudice, and whatever may 
hinder unity of spirit and concord. Prosper the labors of those who 
lead and take counsel for the nations of the world that mutual 
understanding and common endeavor may be increased among all 
peoples. 11 

When black and white work together within the framework of 
the Christian Church, we learn to forget much of that which has 
caused us to misunderstand and to suspect each other. We find that 
many of our fears are unfounded. We also learn how to get rid of 
suspicions and ill feeling. Unrealistic and unnecessary barriers are 
broken down, and we learn to look upon each other as fellow 
Christians. 12 

Embodied in the minutes of Conference B, was a report from the Com- 
mission on Religion and Race which listed as one of its purposes: 'To 
help create an atmosphere for a new conference and society, neither white 
nor black, but a new humanity. " 13 

In those same minutes, John Lovelace reported, that black members 
were placed on conference boards and agencies in more than their pro- 
portion in the merged conference, and that in the election of delegates 
to General Conference, blacks were elected in twice the number they 
would have had if elected from Conference B. 

We have seen that some Methodists, white and black, were not happy 
with some aspect of the merger -or with merger itself. This was inevitable, 
and there was a decline in membership for a few years. Benjamin R. 
Oliphint commented in an interview for the Christian Advocate that he felt 
there would not be a sizable decline in membership. Those who stayed 
were most generous in their giving, and in a few years the membership 
was larger than ever. In 1976 there were 136,308 compared to 135,185 at 

The Years of Accommodation 

The years of accommodation and adjustment began long before June 
4, 1971, every time Louisiana Methodists in both conferences worked 
together. This was especially true as Bishop Walton and Bishop Noah 
W. Moore served the conferences from 1960 to 1968. But cooperation 

United We Stand 297 

accelerated as Bishop Walton served both conferences for three 
years-1969, 1970, and 1971. 

After Merger— A Fresh Start 

As Louisiana Methodists started their task together as one conference, 
a statement on the role of the church which had originated in Conference 
B set the proper tone for the new day. It emerged from a report district 
superintendents had submitted at the last session of Conference B. These 
superintendents were J. W. Wilson, Robert F. Harrington, and J. C. Bib- 
bons; the latter read the report to the conference. 

The Role of the Church 

The Church, in trying to cope with the many social changes in the 
world today, finds its concerns, its loyalty, and deepest interest 
divided. We have the tools, "the Word of Truth/' we have the peo- 
ple - "People of God," and we have the goals which we seek and 
must chart our course which will make us relevant to God's world 
and God's people. We have gathered here as the church, and when 
we leave we will be scattered as the church at large. We are the church 
here and now, assembled as surely as any gathering on earth. We 
must bear the terrible burden of fact-finding within ourselves and 
invite the Holy Spirit to direct, inspire, strengthen and accept us as 
we are. We have not come as an Annual Conference assembled just 
to read reports and make pleasing and palatable resolutions. But we 
have come as hurt and sensitive Christians, feeling a need for renewed 
strength and divine guidance for the task that lies ahead. It is in this 
spirit that we come to give an account of our stewardship on the 
several Districts, .. [of fering commendation to] some, pity to others, 
and forgiveness for those who fail. It is in fulfilling the role of the 
church that we attempt to give a strict account of the deeds done here 
below which may be accepted by our Heavenly Father and glorify 
Jesus Christ His Son, who is the Head of the Church. 14 

They also had the challenge of Bishop Finis A. Crutchfield as he told 
them at the opening of the conference on May 28, 1973, that each church 
should be 

a place of diversity 

a pentecostal laboratory 

a theater of BASIC drama 

a center of creativity 

a temple of dialogue 

an academy of informed information 

298 Becoming One People 

a clinic for public exorcism 

a voice for the voiceless 

a society of friends 

a tower of reconciliation 

a motel for pilgrims 

a house of vicarious feasts 

a hut for the shepherd. 15 

All Methodists Gained in Merger 

As the conferences merged, all the members in each conference gained 
thereby. First, they gained a wider, interracial fellowship, which few Loui- 
siana Methodists had before. They learned the strengths -and the 
weaknesses -of the expressions of the Christian faith embodied in black 
and white adherents. And they learned to cooperate and help each other. 

They also gained in sharing their financial means— both among their 
ministers and staff members and among their agencies for alleviating suf- 
fering, poverty, and discrimination. Especially helpful in a monetary way 
was the increased pensions for black ministers, which had been 
understandably but embarrassingly low. For example, these figures taken 
from the journals show the increase of a few of the retired ministers in 
Louisiana Conference B in 1970, before merger, and in 1974, a few years 
after merger: 







$ 600 






$ 680 








The retired ministers in Conference A, on the other hand, received 
some increase in these four years but at a lower percentage, since in 1970 
they were getting a much larger sum per service year. A few examples 
demonstrate this fact: 















Financial resources were growing in these years; people had more 
to spend -and more to give. In 1972 the total raised by Louisiana 
Methodists was $11,892,196. By 1984 it had grown to $37,577,776. The 

United We Stand 299 

value of church buildings, parsonages, camps, Wesley Foundations, land, 
and other property in 1972 was reported as $83,009,377. By 1983 it was 
$262,803,321. 16 

Membership grew slightly in this era. In 1972 there were 135,185; in 
1986 the figure had grown to 137,753. Church school membership had 
declined, as noted elsewhere, from 64,012 in 1972 to 58,759 in 1985, but 
had gained somewhat by 1986-to 59,047. 

Strengthening the Home Base 

The United Methodists in Louisiana across the years have taken as 
a primary task the development of a group of intelligent and dedicated 
leaders among the clergy and the laity who would in turn help to develop 
effective local churches to respond to the needs of persons and institu- 
tions in community, state, nation, and world. This task was more suc- 
cessful in some areas than in others; sometimes it went faster, sometimes 
slower. But it proceeded gradually forward, thanks to many dedicated 
persons who made the Kingdom of God their chief concern. 

The Louisiana Minister and His Career 

The role of the Louisiana Methodist minister in the local church and 
in the conference has been changing across the years. In early years in 
many situations, he was the only educated person in the community -if, 
indeed, even he was educated. Naturally, his was the voice of authority, 
perhaps along with the school teacher and the doctor. Gradually, 
however, he was joined by others in the community who had the same 
educational level he had -and some had more. 

However, he was usually still the most knowledgeable about religion 
and certainly so in interpreting the Bible. This meant he was not 
automatically accepted as the best informed person on all subjects, but 
he had incentive to work hard at being a leader in his particular field. 

The Louisiana Conference Board of Ordained Ministry had respon- 
sibility for evaluating each applicant's fitness for the ministry. It also 
directed, in general, the applicants' further study and training while they 
served their apprenticeship. Admission "on trial" meant just that; any 
time there was a question about professional competence or moral and 
ethical status, the board would initiate an investigation. Its members 
would keep up with all categories of pastors: full time lay pastors, part 
time lay pastors, student lay pastors, and members of the conference. 
Theirs was the task of monitoring the advancement of new members of 
the conference through the four years of apprenticeship, and they had 
to recommend a person for full connection in the annual conference and 
for ordination as deacon or elder. 

300 Becoming One People 

Seminary Education 

Young members of the Louisiana Conference still in seminary were 
attending almost exclusively United Methodist-related seminaries. In 1974 
the list included Perkins School of Theology, eight; Candler School of 
Theology, five; St. Paul School of Theology, two; Boston University 
School of Theology, two; Gammon Theological Seminary, two; United 
Theological Seminary, one; and Duke Divinity School, one; a total of 
twenty-one out of twenty-seven. The non-Methodist seminaries had the 
following number of students from the Louisiana Conference: Asbury, 
three; Howard University School of Religion, one; New Orleans Baptist 
Seminary, two; a total of six. 17 The board makes grants-in-aid to full-time 
students in United Methodist seminaries and, under certain conditions, 
to those in other seminaries. In 1986 three young preachers were 
appointed to study at Perkins School of Theology, two at Gammon, four 
at Iliff, one at Candler, and one at Lexington Seminary (Disciples). 18 

Counseling, Compensation, Housing 

In recent years the Louisiana Conference has had a system (provided 
for in The Book of Discipline of the denomination) of counseling elders. 
These are experienced pastors who are willing to counsel the less experi- 
enced. They work in cooperation with the Committee on Caring and 
Counseling. Their task is chiefly to counsel regarding the work of the 
ministers in their pastoral tasks. There is also a system of cluster support 
groups to provide fellowship and support, especially as a pastor is fac- 
ing unusual situations, such as retirement. 

Lay leader Thomas H. Matheny, an experienced attorney as well as 
a well-versed churchman, gives advice to ministers on precautions to take 
in order to avoid false charges in such matters as sexual abuse of children. 
When persons ask ministers to counsel them, Matheny suggests that 

1. Counsel by appointment only. 

2. Counsel at the church office. 

3. Arrange for someone to be nearby. 

Matheny urged further that ministers accused of a misdeed, whether 
guilty or not, should: 

1. Call a lawyer. 

2. Discuss the matter with the leader of the pastor-staff relations 

3. Consult the district superintendent. 

4. Avoid talking to the press without the advice of a lawyer. 19 

United We Stand 301 

The Louisiana Conference is unusually good at looking after the welfare 
of its ministerial members. It has a schedule of minimum salaries for 
unmarried student pastors, married student pastors, full-time or part-time 
pastors. It also provides hospitalization insurance; emergency benefits 
for special needs; disability benefits; a good pension system for ministers, 
widows, and dependent children; and a death benefit program. In addi- 
tion, there is a minister's emergency aid fund, and in recent years there 
has been a conference credit union for ministers and other employees 
of the church. 

Of great value to the pension fund was the $4,000,000 given by Joseph 
Deane Woolworth for the ministers pension fund. This was described 
at the time as the largest amount ever given for this fund in any con- 
ference in the Methodist Church. 20 

Louisiana ministers follow provisions in The Book of Discipline for tak- 
ing leaves of absence, sabbatical leaves, educational leaves, maternity/ 
paternity leaves, disability leaves, and retirement. Retirement now may 
be chosen after twenty years of service or after thirty-seven or forty years 
of service under certain provisions, but mandatory retirement is at age 

Pastors -and their spouses and children -have appreciated conference 
standards for parsonages. In 1978 the conference reported on a survey 
made among pastors and their spouses. Pastor's responses indicated: 

- A majority were against having the parsonage next to the church. 

- An overwhelming majority preferred a housing allowance to a 

The pastors' spouses responded as follows: 

- A big majority did not want the parsonage adjacent to the church. 

- A majority preferred a parsonage to a housing allowance. 

- A majority said their current parsonage was adequate. 

The conference proceeded to list minimum standards for parsonages, 
covering all essential items. Pertinent (or pert!) comments made in the 
survey are these: "Dishwasher needed. . . . Replace PRE- ATTIC furniture. . . . 
No parsonage should be finer or larger just to satisfy some 'picky' 
preacher's wife. . . . For years the conference has been talking about stand- 
ards for parsonages; let's get on with some action and less talking." 21 

Homes for Retired Ministers 

By the beginning of this era, the project of providing homes for retired 
ministers was well established in Louisiana, due to the foresight of several 
members of the conference, chiefly James B. Grambling. He was the 
"father" of this movement, which began in 1953. Some nearby conferences 
were abandoning the policy of furnishing homes for retired ministers, 
but in Louisiana it was continuing and proving to be an attractive and 

302 Becoming One People 

critical benefit. The cost of building these houses increased steadily, but 
through this era, at least, the challenge was met. This success was greatly 
facilitated by a few fairly large gifts. In 1968 the Retired Ministers Homes 
Board received a bequest of almost $37,000 from the estate of Truman 
A. Wilbanks of Lafayette and another of about $7,500 at the death of Rosa 
Mixer. In 1970 the board adopted a policy that a minister could pay half 
of the cost of a home, and occupy it on retirement as long as that person 
and his/her marriage partner lived. A few years earlier a new apartment 
"memorial" building was built in Ruston, partly for temporary use by a 
minister who was ill or needed a time of rest. Another apartment there 
was for use by a minister needing temporary housing while building or 
planning his own home. By 1970 there were homes in Minden, Pineville, 
Lafayette, Lake Charles, West Monroe, Rayville, and New Orleans, four 
in Ruston, and three in Shreveport. 

In 1972 Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Rigby gave the conference a camp on 
Lake Bistineau. The property was located on an improved street and had 
a house with all conveniences. It was to be used by ministers for vaca- 
tions, with preference given to retirees. By 1975 living quarters were 
available in the conference for twenty-five persons or couples; some were 

By 1977 a plan was devised whereby the board would share the cost 
of building retirement homes with local churches. Negotiations were in 
process with several local churches on this plan. 

In 1980 the chairman of this project, James L. Adams, reported that 
as of then fifty-four conference retirees were occupying these homes. As 
soon as those under construction were finished there would be at least 
one home in each district. There were sixteen requests on hand for homes 
in the next five years. 

In 1976 an ambitious program was proposed for the conference to 
build a large complex facility that would have a variety of 
accommodations— such as full apartments, efficiency apartments, nurs- 
ing facilities, and a day care center. It was studied, and preliminary plans 
were made. The plan, however, was soon set aside because of fear that 
the conference might become financially responsible for a deficit, if the 
project suffered economic reverses like those recently experienced by a 
similar venture in California. Also in 1976 the Nell Parker Stipe estate 
gave the generous gift of $50,000 for retirement housing, and by 1979-80 
the board was housing fifty retirees. By looking ahead, assessing needs, 
and carefully devising plans to meet the demand, this board was able 
to provide homes for all those who requested them. Thus the Louisiana 
Conference proved that such a plan could succeed— at least for it. 

United We Stand 


Courtesy Louisiana United Methodist 

Louisiana Area Headquarters Building, Baton Rouge 
and occupied May 1982. g ' 


Courtesy Louisiana United Methodist 

neth Shamblin. lreen ' J ' W °odrow Hearn, and Bishop J. Ken- 

304 Becoming One People 

Area Headquarters Location 

One of the significant improvements in these years was the consolida- 
tion of area headquarters at one location and choosing that location nearer 
the center of the state. This movement began in the early 1970s, and when 
no progress was made, the effort was discontinued in 1972. Later this 
task was reassigned to the committee on episcopacy, and that commit- 
tee, through its chairman, J. Woodrow Hearn, recommended that the 
episcopal residence and the headquarters be moved to Baton Rouge. The 
conference accepted the proposal and authorized the bishop and cabinet 
to name a headquarters building committee. Committee officers were J. 
Luther Jordan, chairman; Thomas H. Matheny, vice-chairman; and J. 
Woodrow Hearn, secretary. Other members were D. L. Dykes, Jr., 
Richard Hill, G. Leon Netterville, Amy Ward, Paul White, Harvey G. 
Williamson, J. Kenneth Shamblin, James J. Caraway, Byrl Moreland, 
Samuel W. Walker, and William J. Hughes, Jr. The committee chose 
Southern Builders, Inc. as the contractors. 

A year later the episcopal residence had been moved, and a desirable 
site in downtown Baton Rouge was secured for the headquarters building. 
Construction began in May, 1981, and the building was occupied a year 
later. Hearn announced that the consecration service for the new building 
was to be on June 19-20, 1982, with Bishop Shamblin and Governor David 
Treen participating and with Luther Jordan presiding. The enterprise cost 

Updating the Conference Structure 

Another strong feature in Louisiana Methodism is the careful 
organization of the boards, committees, task forces, institutions, and per- 
sonnel. It also has developed careful rules of operation that give the 
leaders— and followers— guidance and a sense of confidence as they func- 
tion. Those stood them in good stead in the process of the 1971 merger, 
for they provided a framework for the new conference. However, the 
structure and rules of 1971 were simple compared to those developed soon 
after. A committee was established in 1972 to prepare a proposal for 
reorganizing the conference. The new structure was presented in 1974. 
It began with a list of basic principles 22 followed by these sections: 

I. Conference Boards and Agencies 

II. Conference Council on Finance and Administration 

III. Conference Council on Ministries 

IV. Districts 

V. Administrative Assistant 
VI. Program Planning Process 
VII. Conference Rules 

United We Stand 305 

VIII. Rules of Order for Conference Sessions 
IX. Investment Funds of Board of Pensions 
X. Enabling Acts 
In each of the next several years, various rules were amended. 'The 
Structure and Rules'' are printed each year in the Journal taking eighteen 
pages and occasionally a change is made in them— the last being at the 
conference of 1986. 

Conference Council on Ministries 

The council staff is at the heart of the "development and administra- 
tion of the program of the Louisiana Annual Conference, and [it seeks] 
to encourage, coordinate, and support conference agencies, districts, and 
local churches in their ministry and various programs." 23 Staff members 
help to plan many of the activities in the conference. 

The Council on Ministries is headed by Harvey G. Williamson, the 
efficient and knowledgeable executive director. He is now assisted by 
Roger Lathan, director of special ministries, and John M. Braden, direc- 
tor of education ministries. There are many others who share in their 

The council office makes a monthly mailing to each pastor and to other 
church officials. The mailing varies in detail but always includes a con- 
ference calendar for two or three months ahead, listing all meetings of 
interest or importance to the workers in local churches. For example, for 
March, 1985, there were thirty-one listings, consisting of such events as 
the world day of prayer, the meeting of Centenary's Board of Trustees, 
the cabinet meeting, and a jurisdictional youth conference at Mt. Sequo- 
yah. The mailing includes a host of announcements, suggestions, infor- 
mation, opportunities, and exhortations— a fine training course for a 
young or experienced minister. Members of the council staff also engage 
in innumerable planning sessions with other conference, district, and local 
church workers and make numerous presentations. 

Strengthening The Church Through Sunday Schools 

When Bishop Walter L. Underwood was assigned to the Louisiana 
Area, he at once began a vigorous push for utilizing the Sunday school 
as an agency that could strengthen local churches. It was an "old" insti- 
tution, of course, but he gave it a new and greater status and thus put 
new life into it. 

As soon as he "hit the ground" in Louisiana in the fall of 1984 he pro- 
posed that churches set a goal of 200 new Sunday school classes by con- 
ference time, 1985. "The cabinet thought the goal was unrealistic, but 
agreed to take on the challenge if the bishop would scale it back to 150," 
reported John Braden of the Council on Ministries staff. 24 Even the bishop 

306 Becoming One People 

was surprised when the churches reported a total of 280 new classes at 
the end of May, 1985. The conference council office had done its part to 
help. For example, it produced a small leaflet entitled How to Start New 
Sunday School Classes and put new emphasis on the Sunday school's 

This new emphasis gave a new direction for Louisiana Methodist Sun- 
day schools, namely, up. For several years the enrollment had been declin- 
ing. In fact, there had been a precipitous drop at the first of this era from 
80,066 in 1965 to 56,556 in 1981. This was a general trend across the church 
at that time; from 1964 to 1985 Sunday school attendance had declined 
fifty percent across the whole church. 

Sunday school membership in Louisiana regained a bit by 1983. With 
the added impetus of Bishop Underwood's efforts on new classes, it con- 
tinued to increase, reaching 59,047 in 1986. The "new class" approach 
received national attention. A long story with Underwood's picture 
appeared in The United Methodist Reporter on May 31, 1985, and The Reporter 
for June 7 devoted its lead editorial to the Louisiana effort. Newscope for 
June 14, 1985, noted the increase in classes in the state. About the same 
time the curriculum resources committee and The United Methodist 
Publishing House began a new publication, People to People -Reaching Out 
Through the Sunday School, to encourage the work of United Methodist 
Sunday schools. In the first issue of People to People the Louisiana story 
was featured. 

At the June, 1985, session of the Louisiana Conference, thirty churches 
were recognized for their work in Christian education. On the same occa- 
sion, Bishop Underwood presented a special award to Bentley Sloane for 
his long and dedicated service to Christian education. Thenceforth, an 
annual award, the Bentley Sloane Award for Excellence in Christian 
Education, was established, to be presented to churches and persons 
representing the best in Christian education during the previous year. 

Sloane was honored again in February, 1986, at the homecoming 
celebration at Centenary College by being given the hall of fame award 
by the Centenary Alumni Association, partly because of his interest in 
and contribution to Sunday school work in the conference. 


Another way Methodism in Louisiana was strengthened was through 
its communications channels. Most widespread was the continued use 
of The Louisiana United Methodist, an edition of the United Methodist 
Reporter. It is edited in the conference council office and keeps the churches 
informed about what is going on across the state in United Methodist 
circles. Harvey G. Williamson serves as the editor. Local churches are 
encouraged to have the paper sent to each family in the church. In 1975 
there were 8,500 subscribers to the paper. Some local churches used a 

United We Stand 307 

page for their news. Counting the local church editions, 12,822 copies 
of the paper were sent to members in 1975. Odell Simmons at that time 
was chairman of the committee supervising this operation. 

More recently, the emphasis has also included radio and television. 
In 1966 Robert F. Harrington, then pastor of Mt. Zion Church in New 
Orleans, gave the noontime devotions under the auspices of the Greater 
New Orleans Federation of Churches, which were publicized over the 
city's radio and TV stations. They were later issued in printed form. 

First United Methodist Church in Shreveport, under the inspiration 
of D. L. Dykes, Jr., pastor, has become a national leader in religious TV 
programing. Nearly thirty years ago— early in Dykes' pastorate— the 
church started a TV ministry which televised the Sunday morning ser- 
vice widely. This service is still provided, reaching an estimated 100,000 
persons. Dykes led First Church in providing a television station and a 
performing arts theater. Also, an endowment campaign with a goal of 
$10,000,000 has been instituted for the maintenance of the church plant, 
including the TV operation. 

The church introduced in 1981 the Alternate View Network (AVN) 
in response to a need Dykes felt to provide television programing that 
presents religious and theological messages touching adults, youth, and 
children intellectually, spiritually, and morally. Dykes pointed out then 
that religious TV programs across the nation are chiefly of one kind, and 
people are inclined to think those programs are typical of all efforts to 
broadcast the Christian message. "We believe we have a kind of theology 
not available to TV in America today. People are getting the impression 
that what they see on TV is the only kind of religion available to them," 
said Dykes. Associate pastor James Moore referred to "the narrow brand 
of theology that seems to dominate the airways.... We want to provide 
a more thoughtful approach to Christianity. . . . Our faith celebrates a lov- 
ing God who cares for us.... No hellfire and damnation, no rhetoric of 
the apocalypse. And no financial solicitation!" 25 

At the same time First Church enlarged its television ministry by 
developing satellite broadcasting. This involves an uplink transmitting 
and receiving earth station for national and international television 

The church brought in Curtis A. Chambers as general manager at 
AVN. Chambers was well qualified for the job. He had headed national 

Photo on next page: The First United Methodist Church, Shreveport, flipped the 
switch to broadcast its first program by satellite September 9, 1981. The earth 
station located on the church property allows them to broadcast by way of satellite 
to all cable systems throughout the Western Hemisphere. Mother Angelica, ab- 
bess of Our Lady of Angels monastery in Birmingham, Alabama, and director of 
a religious-oriented cable television station, spoke at the celebration. The pro- 
gram also included messages from Governor David Treen, Shreveport Mayor Bill 
Hanna, and Bishop J. Kenneth Shamblin. Pictured, left to right: Bishop Shamblin, 
D. L. Dykes, Jr., Paul Hagens, and Mother Angelica. 


Becoming One People 

United We Stand 309 

United Methodist Communications for a dozen years after a long career 
in church journalism. David Stone is now listed as television manager, 
and Chambers is listed as Minister of Education and Communications. 

Abandoned or Withdrawing Churches 

In 1971 the journal reported that the conference Board of Trustees had 
discovered several abandoned sites on which earlier Methodist Church 
buildings had stood. The board was responsible for the use or sale of such 
land. The trust clause in Methodist property stipulates that the title of 
any property held by a local church is held in the name of the denomina- 
tion. Thus the trustees have the task of defending the rights of The United 
Methodist Church in relationship to any property held in trust by a local 
church. There were several such cases in this era. In 1969 the Davis 
Springs Church declared its intention to withdraw from The United 
Methodist Church and affiliate with another denomination. The case could 
not be settled by the trustees and had to be taken to court, which Upheld 
United Methodist ownership. The same situation was reported regarding 
the Hughes Chapel Church the next year. A similar case arose with the 
Bonita Church, with the same results. 26 Many persons gave hours and 
days to work of the trustees, and they deserve sincere plaudits for their 

Cooperation With Other Church Groups 

The Louisiana Interchurch Conference 

Louisiana Methodists had been active in the Louisiana Council of 
Churches, formed in 1962 by the Protestant denominations in the state. 
In 1966 Roman Catholic Bishop Robert E. Tracy was invited to speak to 
the council. That was the beginning of closer ties between Protestant and 
Roman Catholic leaders. This contact eventually led to the organization 
called the Louisiana Interchurch Conference, made up of the Episcopal 
Church, the Presbyterian Church, U.S., the United Methodist Church, 
the Lutheran Church in America, the Disciples of Christ, the United 
Church of Christ, the United Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., and the 
Roman Catholic Church. Ben R. Oliphint was one of the officers in the 
early stages. Robert F. Harrington was elected executive director of the 
Interchurch Conference in 1975, and J. Woodrow Hearn was president 
the same year. James L. Stovall became executive director of the Loui- 
siana Interchurch Conference in 1976 and served until he retired in 1986. 
Bishop J. Kenneth Shamblin was president in 1983. He initiated several 
new features in the activities of the conference. He participated in the 

310 Becoming One People 

ecumenical service for the ordination of the new Catholic bishop, the Most 
Reverend William B. Friend, of the Diocese of Alexandria-Shreveport. 

Methodist Concern for the Public Good 

United Methodists in Louisiana do not try to run the government and 
other public or semipublic agencies and causes, but they have genuine 
concern for the public good. They speak out when they think it is appro- 
priate. Consequently, across the years they have let their opinions be 
known, and they sometimes urge their fellow United Methodists to vote 
this way or that. 

We noted earlier that Methodists invited other Protestants to join them 
in urging Louisiana legislators not to fund Roman Catholic schools and 
thereby reduce funds for public education. This was still an issue thirty 
years later. In 1972 state representative Dorothy Mae Taylor addressed 
a sympathetic Louisiana Conference in the interest of penal reform. 
Methodist preachers have served as prison chaplains for many years. 

The Conference expressed its concern in 1975 about violence and other 
unwholesome activity dramatized in television programs. In the same 
report from the Committee on Church and Society, restraint was urged 
in federal military spending. The Louisiana Moral and Civic Foundation 
had been an agency the conference had supported since 1951, and it did 
a fine job of alerting Christians to crucial issues. For example, the foun- 
dation reported in 1975 the widespread portrayal of pornography in 
magazines, peep shows, and X-rated movies. 

In 1983 the conference adopted a resolution opposing the ordination 
of practicing homosexuals. When the Louisiana House of Representatives 
suspended a law that classified as black anyone with l-32nd "Negro 
blood, " there must have been United Methodists who applauded. It was 
almost impossible to be so precise about such matters however, and what 
difference did it make anyway in an era which was making less and less 
of racial distinction? 

By 1983— a dozen years after merger— the Commission on Religion 
and Race made a survey of the racial composition of conference boards 
and agencies. They found that minorities were represented on all boards 
and agencies and that most boards and agencies which have employees 
have some minorities among them. Their numbers, however, do not 
generally approach the twelve percent which minorities represent in the 
total United Methodist membership in the conference. 

In 1986 the Legislative Liaison Committee of the conference reported 
that it was aware of the state's financial crisis, but opposed "the shortcut 
solutions of [seeking] revenue from gambling and the drastic measures 
of across-the-board reductions. We feel reasonable cuts can and should 
be made while caring for the needs of children in child-caring institutions 

United We Stand 311 

and for families whose health and well-being depend upon [state and 
federal] grants/' 27 

The conference provided a study guide on AIDS and urged churches 
to study the issues involved. Repeatedly, the conference urged the Loui- 
siana Legislature to approve the Equal Rights Amendment. It also 
expressed concern for the marsh land in the Atchafalaya Basin, recogniz- 
ing the difficulty of devising a sound and politic plan, but also realizing 
the need to save the area where the coastline is eroding and salt water 
is killing vegetation, animals, and fish. 

United Methodists officially oppose any proposal to legalize gambl- 
ing. They are also concerned about the farm crisis in 1986. The opening 
of businesses on Sunday is another concern. A state law against this prac- 
tice has been bitterly criticized by merchants, but church groups as a whole 
have defended it. This law, however, expired in 1986. 

United Methodists viewed with interest the ruling of a federal district 
judge in New Orleans on January 10, 1985, that declared a Louisiana "crea- 
tionism /, law unconstitutional. The law had required that the biblical story 
of creation be given equal emphasis in public schools with Charles Dar- 
win's theory of evolution. A Louisiana United Methodist minister, Lon- 
nie M. Sibley, pastor at First United Methodist Church in Denham 
Springs, Louisiana, praised the ruling. "We need to teach religion in 
churches and not in schools," he said. "How in the world could the 
schools teach one way appropriate to the theology of Baptists, Methodists, 
sect groups, and other?" 28 

Louisiana Methodists Serve in Public Life 29 

Voters in Louisiana have selected numerous Methodists to serve in 
the state's highest and most responsible offices. There are too many to 
name them all, but we can let a few represent the group. In recent years 
five governors were Methodists. Sam Houston Jones was elected in 1940, 
and Jimmie H. Davis, who belonged to Noel Memorial Church, 
Shreveport, was elected in 1944 and again in 1960. Robert Kennon, who 
was raised a Methodist but later joined the Presbyterian Church, was 
elected in 1952. John J. McKeithen, a Methodist from Columbia, was 
elected in 1964. David Treen, who belongs to Munholland Church in New 
Orleans, was elected governor in 1968. 

A number of Methodists have served in the legislature. John Sidney 
Garrett of Haynesville was a state representative for twenty-four years 
and speaker of the house for four years. Richard Baker, state represen- 
tative recently elected to the House of Representatives, has been the con- 
ference lay leader. Dorothy Mae Taylor of New Orleans was the first black 
woman elected as state representative. State senator Sydney B. Nelson 
is an active member of First Church, Shreveport. U. S. representative 

312 Becoming One People 

Charles E. "Buddy" Roemer and state representative Walter Fox 
McKeithen are both Methodists and in the current race for governor. 

Methodism is well represented in the legal profession and the 
judiciary. John Allen Dixon, chief justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court, 
was a delegate to the General Conference in 1964. Attorney Carl Stewart, 
graduate of Dillard University and a member of St. James United 
Methodist Church, Shreveport, was elected Caddo Parish district judge 
in 1985. His brother, James, is assistant district attorney in Caddo Parish. 
Fannie E. Burch in 1954 became Louisiana's first woman district judge 
in Division A of the Twenty-first Judicial District. She was the daughter 
of a local Methodist preacher, and she herself has preached many ser- 
mons. The contributions of Judges W. D. Cotton, Chris T. Barnette, Vin- 
son M. Mouser, and Robert J. O'Neal have been given in an earlier 

Thomas H. Matheny began his law career in 1957 in Hammond, and 
was a member of the American Judicature Society, the Law League of 
America, the Institute of Law and Science, World Peace Through Law 
Academy, and other legal and civic groups. He was given the distin- 
guished service award by the Junior Chamber of Commerce and named 
one of three Louisiana outstanding young men by the Louisiana Junior 
Chamber of Commerce in 1964. Elsewhere in this account his extensive 
service to Louisiana Methodism is described. 

Some Other Outstanding Leaders 

William H. Patrick, Jr., at Louisiana State University, is heading a 
remarkable project of teaching third world students to produce their own 
food scientifically, to improve the productivity of their land, and to 
develop the best strains of food crops. The project is called FISH and is 
supported through the Louisiana Conference. 

Lueburda Jamison (Mrs. Kenneth) Myers of Shreveport has a 
remarkable service record in public school education and community ser- 
vice. After finishing at Grambling University, she studied at Centenary 
College, Northwestern State University, Louisiana Tech, and Columbia 
University. She has served as delegate to the annual conference, as 
secretary of the Conference Committee on the Episcopacy, as a member 
of the Shreveport biracial committee, and as president of "top ladies of 
distinction". She has received the good citizenship award, the Caddo 
Parish School Board's citation for dedication to youth, and other honors. 
She is listed in Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities, Directory 
of Distinguished Americans. She is secretary of program resources for United 
Methodist Women in Louisiana. 

Nancy Mikell Carruth of the David Haas Memorial Church in Bunkie 
was awarded the honorary doctor of humane letters degree by Centenary 
College and serves as a trustee of the college. She is very active in her 

United We Stand 313 

local church, was a delegate to the 1980 General Conference, and headed 
the lay delegation to the 1984 General Conference. She is active in the 
local and conference United Methodist Women, is editor of the conference 
Newsletter, and has been dean of the conference school of Christian mis- 
sion. She has traveled in many other countries of the world, including 
the recent, fifteenth World Methodist Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, 
where she was elected to the executive committee for 1986 through 1991. 
Her offices in many facets of United Methodist activities are innumerable, 
including president of the Division of Higher Education of the General 
Board of Higher Education, member of the study group on the newly 
proposed Methodist university in Africa, member of the South Central 
Jurisdiction Committee on Episcopacy, a director of the Children's Home 
at Ruston - and more! 

Mrs. Dorothy Mae Taylor was the youngest of thirteen children. 
Reared in New Orleans, she attended parish schools. She and her hus- 
band, Johnny Taylor, have seven children and belong to Mount Zion 
United Methodist Church in New Orleans. She has been active in the 
WSCS and has held district and conference offices. In 1975 she was named 
to the Conference Commission on the Status and Role of Women. She 
has been a member of the General Council on Ministries and vice presi- 
dent of Black Methodists for Church Renewal. 

Mrs. Taylor has been a public school teacher, a PTA president in three 
schools, and has successfully challenged a segregated recreation program 
in New Orleans. She has served on numerous statewide boards and com- 
missions and as a board member on nearly a dozen civic and religious 
organizations, including St. Mark's and People's Center. 

Several "firsts" belong to Mrs. Taylor. She is the first woman to receive 
the LSU "man of the year" award; the first woman commencement 
speaker at Southern University, Baton Rouge; the first black women ever 
elected to the Louisiana legislature; and the first black woman ever to 
become secretary of a state department (Department of Urban and Com- 
munity Affairs). Throughout her career, Mrs. Taylor has endeavored to 
improve the quality of life for people in Louisiana. 

A. W. Dent, president of Dillard University early in the era, was com- 
mended for his educational leadership at the 1965 session of the Loui- 
siana Conference, Central Jurisdiction. Dent had an impressive 
background in health organizations and other civic groups, such as the 
United Negro College Fund, the National Health Council, Chicago 
Theological Seminary, American Hospital Association, and many others. 

Samuel DuBois Cook, Dent's successor, has led Dillard University 
to fine achievements and makes full reports annually to the Louisiana 
Conference. The university now seems to be at its highest point 

Amy Ward, member of St. Luke's Church in New Orleans, is chairper- 
son of the administrative board there and a member of several committees. 

314 Becoming One People 

She is a member also of conference boards and was president of the con- 
ference United Methodist Women (1975-79). She was a delegate to the 
1980 and 1984 Jurisdictional and General Conferences and is on the Board 
of Directors of several UMC social and educational institutions. She is 
a member of the General Board of Global Ministries and was chairper- 
son of the consultation on the theology of mission held in Memphis in 
January, 1986. She has served as vice president of the Louisiana Moral 
and Civic Foundation and as a member of the Executive Committee of 
Church Women United. 

Jack Doland, president of McNeese State University, Lake Charles, 
from 1979 to 1986, is a Methodist and an educator. He resigned his 
presidency in the fall of 1986. After thirty-seven years as a teacher, coach, 
and administrator of schools and universities, he is turning to politics. 
He has announced that he is running for the state senate in 1987. He 
pledged to work diligently for higher education. 

Irma Green Jackson was chairperson of the Voluntary Service Com- 
mittee in Central Jurisdiction Conference and was first reserve delegate 
to the 1968 Jurisdictional Conference. She was also a member of the 
Minimum Salary Commission of the annual conference, the Board of 
Social Concerns, and of the Interpretation Committee. 

Leonard L. Haynes, Jr., not only served as a local pastor but also as 
dean of Claflin College, Orangeburg, South Carolina. He has also served 
on the staff of Philander-Smith College, Little Rock, Arkansas and was 
president of Morristown College in Morristown, Tennessee. 

G. Leon Netterville, long-time president of Southern University at 
Baton Rouge, was a trusted leader in Louisiana Methodist circles for many 
years. He was a General Conference delegate in 1964, 1968, 1972, and 
1976. He was treasurer of the Louisiana Conference, Central Jurisdiction 
in the 1960s. The auditor of the Netterville records in 1964 highly com- 
mended his efficient manner of keeping the books. In 1972 he was elected 
vice president of the Conference Commission on World Service and 
Finance. He was also president of the Conference Board of Trustees in 
1972. He was a Methodist representative on the Louisiana Interchurch 
Conference. As early as 1967 the conference presented him with a cita- 
tion for his intense dedication and broad concern. 

The Laity and the Church 

The Board of the Laity continued to be supportive of the vital work 
of the conference. In 1966 the board was in the midst of a five year pro- 
gram of stewardship cultivation among Louisiana Methodists. An empha- 
sis was placed on tithing and on considering the churches and institu- 
tions of the church in wills and bequests. The 1966 report of the board 
pledged to stand behind the whole program of the church and announced 

United We Stand 315 

plans for a one day school of theology in 1967. The board also extended 
invitations to leaders of the Evangelical United Brethren, who were 
scheduled to unite with the Methodists in 1968, and to leaders of the Cen- 
tral Jurisdiction in Louisiana, who were hoping to unite later. Concern- 
ing union, board members reported that they stood "ready to make the 
adjustments and sacrifices that are necessary. 30 

The board proposed in 1969 preconference sessions to allow time for 
thorough discussions of unfamiliar issues and to provide full informa- 
tion on all topics. This proposal was carried out the following year. They 
gave special attention to understanding all aspects of the merger of Con- 
ferences A and B. The leaders of the board gave unusual attention to this 
latter concern. Tom H. Matheny spoke in every district in both conferences 
on the merger. This preparation of the laity for merger was a crucial ele- 
ment in its success. The selection of the layman of the year in 1971 resulted 
in a tie between Joe P. Soloman and Mrs. Charles McGowan, president 
of the WSCS, and they were both declared winners. 

After the mechanics of merger were determined, the Board of the Laity 
set out to help generate the spirit of merger in every church and every 
person. Merger had left fewer positions of leadership in the new con- 
ference than in the two former conferences and therefore a greater choice 
for leadership. The board designated Allen L. Brown of the former Con- 
ference B as the layman of the year in 1974. He is at present serving in 
the department of Methodist men, the General Board of Discipleship, 
in Nashville. 

In succeeding years, the board supported the circulation of the Loui- 
siana United Methodist, the preservation of Wesley Chapel in England, and 
evangelism as a primary function of the church. The board also opposed 
a state lottery. In successive years the board increased payments into the 
1000 Club fund and encouraged giving to the disaster relief program and 
to the Louisiana Moral and Civic Foundation. In the early 1980s the Bob 
Lay Memorial 1000 Club appropriated between $50,000 and $60,000 each 
year for church extension. 

Richard H. Baker was conference lay leader in 1982-84. During his 
leadership the board expanded its support for educational scholarship 
for students at Centenary or Dillard who planned to go into full-time 
Christian service. This was possible because of two scholarship funds, 
one of which was established in memory of Howard Daughenbaugh, Sr., 
and the other in honor of outstanding layman, Thomas H. Matheny. The 
1000 Club program reached $75,000 for the two past years, and thus it 
was able to help build several churches for new congregations. During 
the thirty-one years it has been operating, it has provided $1,410,000 to 
ninety churches. 

316 Becoming One People 

Episcopal Leadership 

Paul E. Martin 

Methodists in Louisiana still measure any new bishop by the stature 
of Paul Elliott Martin. He was elected in 1944 and was assigned to both 
the Louisiana and the Arkansas Conferences. Over the years Louisiana 
had had many different bishops serving for brief periods. A. Frank Smith, 
however, served from 1938 to 1943 and Hoyt M. Dobbs from 1930 to 1937. 
But Bishop Martin stayed the longest of any before or since -for seven- 
teen sessions of the conference. He and Mrs. Martin (whom many affec- 
tionately called "Mildred") were held in highest esteem. At the conference 
session in 1960 a dinner of appreciation for the Martins was attended by 
600 admirers. At a later business session the conference voted unani- 
mously to request the Jurisdictional Conference to reassign Bishop Mar- 
tin to Louisiana. 

When the Martins were assigned to Houston, an editorial in the Loui- 
siana Methodist asserted that he "was loved and respected by Methodists 
of Louisiana. They responded eagerly to his leadership...." 31 The Mar- 
tins had, indeed, made many friends in Louisiana. Mrs. Martin was 
especially noted for paying attention to persons being somewhat neglected 
in large gatherings and the Bishop for remembering names. Jolly B. Harper 
wrote, "A very short time after I first met Bishop Martin, he came back 
in the interest of the great Crusade for Christ. After he had spoken, I 
went to shake his hand, and he immediately said, 'Hello, Jolly/ This was 
the first time any bishop had ever recognized me and called me by my 
first name." 32 

Bishop Martin was a steadying influence during the crucial days of 
racial adjustments in both Arkansas and Louisiana. His successor in Loui- 
siana, Bishop Aubrey G. Walton, commented on Bishop Martin's influ- 
ence in these words: "Though he had many rough experiences and 
endured harassment, as did many others, he steadfastly retained his kind 
and compassionate attitude toward all and witnessed daily for the faith 
that was his. He laid a good foundation in human relations in both states, 
which made it possible for those of us who followed to build upon." 33 

When Bishop Martin died, February 13, 1975, the cabinet of the Loui- 
siana Conference requested Clyde S. Clark, one of their number, to write 
Mrs. Martin of "our loving concern" for her. This letter confirmed Bishop 
Martin's permanent influence on Louisiana Methodism in saying, 
"Methodism in this state will forever have the mark of Bishop Paul Mar- 
tin upon it." 34 

United We Stand 317 

Aubrey G. Walton 

As the new bishop in Louisiana, Bishop Aubrey G. Walton benefit- 
ted from the warm feeling Paul Martin created in the state for the episcopal 
office. Louisiana had just become an episcopal area and would no longer 
share a bishop with another conference. The Louisiana Methodist (July 14, 
1960) welcomed Bishop Walton by predicting "years of fine service in Loui- 
siana" from this "able administrator," and "minister of great preaching 
ability, and... unusual judgment." The article continued: "Bishop Walton's 
leadership will,... prove to be an inspiration to Methodists throughout 

Bishop Walton did have "years of fine service in Louisiana" and was 
able to guide Conferences A and B to merger in 1971. Born in Mississippi, 
he had spent all of his ministry in Arkansas, so he knew well the 
characteristics of that region of Methodism in which Louisiana was 

During the last conference at which he presided (1972) he was praised 
for his achievements in Louisiana. The highlight of the conference was 
a dinner honoring Bishop and Mrs. Walton. The Conference Journal stressed 
his "diligent leadership and outstanding achievements." The Louisiana 
Methodist reported (June 15, 1972) that the conference "was characterized 
by two attitudes, both of which exerted a strong emotional tone to the 
meeting. One of these was the spirit of celebration marking the successful 
completion of the first year of the merged conference.... The other was 
the feeling of sadness because it was the last session over which Bishop 
Walton would preside." Bishop Walton delivered the episcopal message 
at the 1972 South Central Jurisdictional Conference at which he retired. 
The Waltons moved to Little Rock, where he died on April 11, 1978. 

Finis A. Crutchfield 

Successor to Bishop Walton was newly-elected Bishop Finis A. 
Crutchfield, who had been pastor twelve years at Boston Avenue United 
Methodist Church in Tulsa. Raised in Texas in a Methodist parsonage, 
he had spent all his ministry in Oklahoma. He was a delegate to the World 
Council of Churches Assembly in New Delhi in 1961 and was one of the 
preachers at the World Methodist Conference in London in 1966. He was 
a member of the World Methodist Council. He had served on various 
other conference agencies and civic committees. He had delivered several 
series of lectures at established lectureships, including the Jones- 
Cadwallader lectures at Rayne Memorial Church in New Orleans. 

At Bishop Crutchfield's first annual session of the Louisiana Con- 
ference on May 29, 1973, there was a service of investiture. He was given 
a Bible as a symbol of his spiritual leadership, a Discipline as a symbol 
of his administrative leadership, and a gavel as a symbol of his position 

318 Becoming One People 

as presiding officer of the conference. In his message, he declared there 
never was a more challenging time to be a churchman than now. "All 
the more perplexing problems man faces today are global in scope," he 
declared, a "...propitious moment for the church - that blessed commu- 
nity, international, interracial, intercultural, inclusive, open to all 
truth... reconciling, lifting, sharing, planning, giving, witnessing, redeem- 
ing, following Jesus. What a time for the church!" 35 

A highlight of the 1975 conference was the episcopal greeting of 
Bishop Prince A. Taylor, Jr., well known to members of former Conference 
B. In this greeting, Bishop Taylor represented himself and Bishop Willis 
J. King. At the 1976 conference session, members asked for the return 
of Bishop Crutchfield, but he was sent to the Houston Area. 

/. Kenneth Shamblin 

Again a newly-elected bishop was sent to Louisiana. J. Kenneth 
Shamblin had served all his ministry in Arkansas, except for his last 
pastorate, which was St. Luke's Church in Houston, where he had been 
pastor since 1961. He was a graduate of Perkins School of Theology and 
was well known in Christian education circles, having been an officer in 
the national Methodist Conference on Christian Education. 

Bishop Shamblin had been in charge of the conference for almost a 
year before its 1977 session. He put forth the two concerns which he rated 
as priorities, namely, church extension and leadership training. He invited 
as conference preachers two whom he knew would be doubly welcome: 
Bishop O. Eugene Slater, a product of Louisiana Methodism (for 1977) 
and Bishop L. Scott Allen, former editor of the Central Christian Advocate, 
who was welcomed in 1978 by scores of former readers and associates 
in New Orleans. Slater also represented Perkins School of Theology at 
the conference. 

By 1978-79 plans for relocating the episcopal residence and conference 
offices had developed so far as to require a lot of the Bishop's time and 
energy. This project consumed several years. These years saw also fur- 
ther adjustments between the two former Louisiana conferences. The 
Commission on Religion and Race and the Board of Church and Society 
dealt with those issues. Differences of opinion did not involve black/ white 
issues so much as philosophical matters. 

In 1978 Bishop Shamblin persuaded W. T. Handy, Jr., to return from 
being a vice president at The Methodist Publishing House in order to 
become district superintendent of the Baton Rouge-Lafayette District. The 
Board of Publication was reluctant to lose him and commended him, when 
he left, for "the inspiring leadership and dedicated administration. . . . His 
contribution... has been outstanding, and... most helpful." 36 Handy had 
long been an influential and helpful member of the conference and had 
demonstrated leadership in crucial eras of conference history. In 1980 J. 

United We Stand 319 

Woodrow Hearn proposed that Handy be the nominee of the conference 
for episcopal election at the 1980 Jurisdictional session. The conference 
approved the motion, and Handy became the first bishop elected in 1980. 
On the first ballot, he received the highest vote and on the second he 
was elected. His first episcopal assignment was to the Missouri Area. 

Another minister whom Louisiana claims became bishop at the same 
1980 conference. Benjamin R. Oliphint joined the Louisiana Conference 
in 1947 and soon became a leader. He was especially helpful in the dif- 
ficult years preceding the 1971 merger. He was pastor of First Church, 
Dallas from 1973 to 1980 and now serves as bishop in Houston. 

Bishop Shamblin died in October, 1983, to the great sorrow of 
Methodists in Louisiana— and in Texas, Arkansas, and elsewhere. In his 
memoir in the 1984 Conference Journal, Bishop Paul V. Galloway noted 
that the headquarters building would stand as his monument, but also 
his "bringing together of our work in the state will remain as a strength 
and integrating force." Bishop Galloway also paid tribute to Bishop 
Shamblin at the Council of Bishops meeting in which he said: "He knew 
his faith and his call, and had courage, though this courage was never 
belligerent. . . . While he was firm, he was open. . . . His preaching was effec- 
tive, clear, and with commitment and power. He knew that a church full 
of people might be filled with people who are empty." 37 

J. Woodrow Hearn presided at Bishop Shamblin's funeral on October 
5, 1983, in Baton Rouge, and Bishop W. T. Handy, Jr., gave the message. 

Two New Bishops 

The 1984 South Central Jurisdiction Conference meeting in Lubbock, 
Texas, elected two bishops who were of special interest to Louisiana 
Methodists. One was J. Woodrow Hearn, native of Louisiana, born to 
a parsonage family, member of the Louisiana Conference all his ministry 
and for the preceding eleven years pastor of First Church, Baton Rouge. 
The other was Walter L. Underwood, who was assigned to serve as bishop 
of the Louisiana Conference for 1984-1988. 

Bishop Underwood was elected from the pastorate of St. Luke's 
Church in Houston, the same church where Bishop Shamblin was pastor 
when elected. Born in Kentucky, he was educated there and in Tennesee, 
Virginia, and Texas; and before going to Houston, his pastorates were 
chiefly in North Texas. As he assumed his duties in Louisiana, he issued 
a taped message which went to the Methodist congregations in the state, 
declaring, "We united Methodists are being offered new opportunities, 
new challenges, and new possibilities for Christian witness and service 
to all of God's people around the world. I call on you to join me in a new 
commitment to the discernment and the fulfillment of God's will in our 
lives and in our church." 


Becoming One People 

Courtesy Woodrow Hearn 

Service of consecration to the office of Bishop for J. Woodrow Hearn, Walter L. 
Underwood, and Richard B. Wilke. 

In a short span of about three years, he put Louisiana Methodism 
"on the map," because of two well-publicized emphases— and others, of 
course. One of these emphases was on creating "more Sunday School 
classes — and more Sunday Schools." Another matter— simple, but 
important— was that every United Methodist Church in the state put up 
a sign identifying it. The text for this exhortation is possibly Luke 11:33, 
"No one after lighting a lamp puts it... under a bushel." 

But Bishop Underwood made other and more profound probings. 
He urged preachers to spend as much as twenty hours in preparing a 
sermon. "Preaching is like picking cotton. It's hard work," he said. In 
addressing a group of new ministers in June, 1985, he admonished: "Love 
people; believe in belief; witness your faith; and commit your life. . . . Our 
business is the business of people, rich and poor, ignorant and learned, 
red and yellow and black and brown and white." 38 

Photographs on next page: Bishop Finis A. Crutchfield, Jr. presenting the crosier, 
symbol of pastoral leadership and ecclesiastical authority of the episcopal office. 

Bishop Paul V. Galloway presenting the Bible as the Word of God. 

Bishop Underwood holding the chalice, symbol of the sacrament of the Lord's Sup- 
per, which was presented by Bishop R. E. Goodrich, Jr. 

Presentation of Bishop Underwood was made by Bishop W. T. Handy, Jr. 

United We Stand 


Service of Investiture for 

Walter Lee Underwood 

as Bishop of the Louisiana Area 

Riverside Ceniroplex Theatre 
Baton Rouge, October 28, 1984 

Courtesy Conference Council on Ministries 

322 Becoming One People 

Newspaper reporters are not always accurate in judging social and 
religious trends, but it is interesting to see how they interpret actions and 
pronouncements of denominations. The Shreveport Journal for June 5, 1986 
(during the Louisiana Conference session) reported: 

Although neither the largest nor the most vocal of the Protestant 
denominations in Louisiana, the United Methodist Church in Loui- 
siana is making its voice heard. 

In the less than two years since Dr. Walter Underwood was 
appointed bishop of Louisiana's United Methodist Church Louisiana 
Methodism has undergone changes which could be termed radical. 

For example, though Methodists have historically been liberal on 
social justice and civil and human rights issues, they are extremely 
conservative when it comes to the issue of gambling.... The state's 
UMC Legislative Liaison Committee... launched a campaign against 
the gambling legislation. 

This use of the terms "liberal" and "conservative" could be confus- 
ing. They refer here not to political alignment or conviction but rather 
how Methodists tend to align themselves on issues affecting people. 
Methodists are liberal, for example, on those matters that promote the 
welfare of persons; they are conservative on measures they consider harm- 
ful to persons. Methodists are opposed to anything they consider sinful. 

The article continued: 

Underwood does not run from controversy, and is not afraid to let 
his ideas be known. Whether it is his antigun control stance or his 
belief in the Methodist bishops' pastoral letter against nuclear arms, 
Underwood stands firm. He said, "our social witness has to remain 
strong— in planned parenthood, hunger, poverty, nuclear disarma- 
ment, racism, ageism, sexism, oppression of human rights." 

Underwood, indeed, does not hesitate to "speak his mind." At the 
same 1986 conference session in Shreveport, in the same paper and same 
issue, he was reported as criticizing a Lafayette, Louisiana newspaper 
for its attack on the United Methodist Bishops' Pastoral Letter dealing 
with the nuclear crisis. He called the Lafayette paper's criticism "at best 
'shoddy journalism' and at worst a 'deliberate intention to destroy the 

The Book of Hymns 

Another example of the Bishop's willingness to speak his mind was 
when he spoke out at the 1986 conference on the controversy about 
deleting certain hymns from the new hymnal for United Methodism. But 
first, we need a little background. 

United We Stand 323 

The 1984 General Conference had authorized the Board of 
Discipleship and The United Methodist Publishing House to proceed with 
the preparation of a new edition of a hymnal for the United Methodist 
people. A // blue-ribbon // committee was appointed, an editor was selected, 
and many "readers" and consultants were chosen from across the church. 
The choice of hymns— words and texts— was being given the closest 
scrutiny that has ever been given. 

The Louisiana Conference is well represented among those 
knowledgeable persons comprising the national group of hymnal con- 
sultants. They are Will Andress, Carole Cotton-Winn, John Hamilton, 
Franklin P. Poole, Ardessie Prophet, Esther Socolofsky, and Ted Standley. 
Bishop Handy is a consultant on theological language in the words of 
hymns and is chairman of the Committee on Editorial Production. 

The 1986 session of the Louisiana Conference was held during a 
national outcry about a preliminary decision to delete from the new hym- 
nal such hymns as "Onward Christian Soldiers" and "The Battle Hymn 
of the Republic," and some of the delegates at the Shreveport conference 
were strongly opposed to the omission of these hymns. Delegates and 
visitors to the conference held two unofficial meetings to discuss the 
issues, and they seemed to be upset by the possibility of the changes. 

Franklin P. Poole, listed as a member of a subcommittee of the hym- 
nal committee, served as convener of these meetings. He agreed to report 
the views of the group. The problem was soon solved. The National Hym- 
nal Committee voted to keep these hymns on the approved list. 

Bishop Underwood put the matter in perspective by proposing that 
the matter of keeping or deleting these particular hymns is not a substan- 
tive issue. He said he had not intended to speak publicly on the issue 
until he heard a restaurant waitress say, "Can you believe that all they 
[United Methodists] have to do is to argue about a hymn?" The Bishop 
commented at a conference session, 

We should feel indicted by that. The whole world is going to hell, 
and we are spending our energies talking about "Onward Christian 
Soldiers".... I would be delighted to see it stay in, but it won't 
devastate me if they take it out.... The call of God is to major in 
majors -evangelism, revitalization, church growth, the winning of 
the lost to Jesus Christ, the ministry to a hurt and pained world, and 
the comforting of the bereaved and sorrowing world. 39 

The Expanding Role of Women 

For many years women had been playing an increasingly important 
role in church and society. It was originally a subservient one. Gradually 
both church and society began moving toward the Christian ideal of 

324 Becoming One People 

welcoming every person to fill a role in life commensurate with that per- 
son's God-given talents. Literalists could -and did -take refuge behind 
St. Paul's exhortation, "Let your women keep silence in the churches, 
for it is not permitted unto them to speak" (I Corinthians 14:34) or "I per- 
mit no woman to teach... she is to keep silent" (I Timothy 2:12 RSV). They 
conveniently overlooked the time Paul referred to believers among Greek 
women "of high standing as well as men" (Acts 17:12 RSV), or when he 
referred to the women who had labored "side by side with me. . .together 
with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers" (Philippians 4:3 RSV). 

It is a thrilling story the way women gained the right to serve God 
publicly and officially in the church. That story has been well told about 
United Methodist women in the two volume collection of forty accounts, 
issued by Abingdon Press in 1982 under the title, Women in New Worlds. 

Three members of Trinity United Methodist Church in Alexandria 
are listed in the 1981 edition of, Outstanding Young Women of America. They 
are Gay Dezendorf, Vicci Armitage, and Joyce Wallace. 40 There are 
undoubtedly other Methodists in the book, but they are not identified 
as Methodists. 

Women Preachers in Louisiana 

The Methodist Protestants had the first Methodist women preachers 
in Louisiana. Sarah H. Brady and Sally Seegers were presumably early 
members of the M. P. clergy, but available conference records do not give 
their dates of admission to the conference or their dates of death. Mary 
Bartlett was ordained into the M. P. ministry in 1901 and was in the merger 
of the three Methodist branches in 1939. Other women in the M. P. 
ministry in 1939 were Mary E. Perdue, Lula Wardlow, Ola Ramsey, Fern 
Cook, Lea Joyner, Mrs. Nettie Mae Cook, Mrs. Ada Johnson, and Elaine 
Willett. Mary Bartlett left the conference to join the Congregational 
Methodist Church in 1940. Mary Perdue, a native of Shreveport, died 
in 1941. Lea Joyner had a long and fruitful ministry in Louisiana until 
her tragic death in 1985. 

Women were slow to join the Louisiana Conference after the 1939 
union. The next woman's name found as "received on trial" (as the record 
lists all new ministers), is that of Bonnie Ruth Holley in 1964. She was 
then a student at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia. She 
is now a retired member of the conference. 

As of 1986 there are twenty-nine women ministers listed as members 
of the conference and five women diaconal ministers. Twelve women are 
serving as pastors, two are co-pastors, four are on leave of absence, four 
are students, two are campus ministers, one is a missionary, one is assis- 
tant pastor, and three are in a specialized ministry. In addition, three 
deaconesses are listed. 

United We Stand 325 

One example of the woman minister is Deborah Drash, appointed 
in 1986 as pastor of St. Luke's Church in Baton Rouge. She was earlier 
associate minister at Broadmoor Church in Shreveport (1982-85) and still 
earlier secured her seminary education at Candler School of Theology. 
She is engaged in ongoing research on prominent American women 
leaders in The Methodist Church. She also wrote a review of Rabbi Harold 
Kushner's book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People (in the Baton 
Rouge Morning Advocate), and the teaching helps for Adult Bible Studies 
from December, 1985, to February, 1986. She was in charge of the morn- 
ing worship services at the Louisiana Conference in 1985. 

While on the staff at Broadmoor Church, Shreveport, Deborah Drash 
conducted a service recognizing the historical and current leadership of 
women in Methodism. The title of her sermon was 'The Church of the 
Open Hands." She pointed out that 

a closed hand (clenched in a fist) defends nothing but its own small 
territory. It is the church and its leaders (men and women together) 
who have open hands, who will lovingly reach out to others in an 
ever- widening territory of ministry.... Christ sees us in our times of 
close-minded, tight-fistedness. He sees us when we open our hands 
in ministry to someone in need.... We need to be braver in speaking 
healing words to one another and offering the open hand of friend- 
ship with less hesitance. 41 

The longest pastorate to date among Methodist women — or men 
— in the Louisiana Conference was that of Lea Joyner at Southside Church 
in Monroe. She joined the Louisiana Conference of The Methodist Church 
at the 1939 union. She was assigned to the Monroe church in 1952 before 
the congregation had a name. It was called simply Monroe Mission. Her 
leadership and ministry helped the congregation grow to 2,200 members 
in 1985. 

In 1985 tragedy struck. Joyner was attacked one night while she was 
working in her church office, and her body was found a day or two later 
in a cotton field north of Monroe. Bishop Ben R. Oliphint of Houston, 
former Monroe pastor, commented, "I've never known another minister 
who made as many hospital calls or helped as many down and out peo- 
ple as Lea Joyner did." 42 

Status and Role of Women 

In 1976-77 the conference organized a Committee on the Status and 
Role of Women. Soon there were workshops and training events to help 
women in taking their place as full members of the United Methodist 
Church and its organizations. They focused on encouraging women to 
consider full-time church careers and to work toward responsible selec- 
tion of delegates to jurisdictional and general conferences. In cooperation 

326 Becoming One People 

with the Board of the Laity, they made up a list of women who qualified 
to be delegates, as a guide for voting. Mrs. Lottie Palazzo was the first 
chairperson of the committee. 

The national movement represented by this committee could, indi- 
rectly, claim some credit for the election of the first woman bishop, Mar- 
jorie S. Matthews of Wisconsin. The conference committee carries on a 
vigorous effort to speak to the issues facing women in church life and 
make suggestions for dealing with them. They suggest such activities as 
holding retreats for clergywomen, having a luncheon for them during 
conference sessions, and sending delegates to appropriate meetings. They 
focus on such issues as inclusive language, proportionate representation 
on church boards and agencies, and salary equality. 

United Methodist Women - Today 

Women in the church have always believed in working together, and 
they continued their activities, as usual, in these years. After the two 
annual conferences merged, the United Methodist Women followed suit. 
Florence (Mrs. Thomas E.) Kirkpatrick was elected the first president of 
the combined constituency. She reported to the conference in 1972 that 
they had come to understand that "we pursue a common aim, that we 
can do it together, that our course should and must be together.... 43 In 
the fall of 1972, women of the conference were saddened by Mrs. 
Kirkpatrick's death just before she was to preside at the annual meeting 
of the WSCS. Her successor was Mary Adele (Mrs. Robert) Compton. 

The Louisiana Methodist women pledged $156,444 the previous year 
but paid $164,899 for mission purposes. They continued to give major 
attention to agencies women had started, such as MacDonell Center, 
Houma; St. Mark's Community Center, New Orleans; People's Com- 
munity Center, New Orleans; Dulac Community Center, Dulac; and 
Sager Brown School, Baldwin. 

The change of title from Women's Society of Christian Service and 
Wesleyan Service Guild to United Methodist Women did not please all 
members, but they cooperated in the change. Leaders of the women's 
groups did not consider themselves a part of the women's liberation move- 
ment, but they did consider themselves a supportive fellowship for 
women who were trying to throw off impediments to their full accep- 
tance as persons in church and society. They mentioned the plight of 
young women who were planning to enter the ministry and the hurdles 
they faced in admission to seminaries and conferences. Louisiana women 
leaders took their place in jurisdictional and national planning and leader- 
ship of the new structures for women. 

When the Louisiana Methodist women met in September, 1973, to 
organize as United Methodist Women, they had the largest attendance 
ever. Bishop Finis A. Crutchfield gave one of the major addresses. 

United We Stand 327 

Louisiana women were reported to have attended various Methodist 
women's meetings for information, inspiration, and training in such places 
as Cincinnati; Philadelphia; Washington; Nashville; Palestine, Texas; and 
Fayetteville, Arkansas. 

By 1975 local units of United Methodist Women reached a member- 
ship of 14,135. Also members of the conference UMW had articles printed 
in Response, the national women's magazine, edited in New York. 

Amy (Mrs. Truman) Ward became conference president in 1976. Mary 
Adele Compton headed the lay delegation to General Conference in 1976, 
and Inez W. Chrisentery was the second delegate elected. Winn Burks 
accompanied her husband, Marcus, and David Flude of the United 
Methodist Committee on Relief to mission stations in Bangladesh and 
India and brought back new insights and information on the mission 

During these years, United Methodist Women were learning about 
prayer, theology, missions, poverty, prisons, women's image on TV, 
aging, child advocacy, human rights, and needs of children. In 1977 the 
conference UMW sent two women to the Law of the Sea Conference in 
Washington, D.C. Personal commitment to Christ was the theme they 
emphasized through 1977 and 1978. As the leaders studied the changing 
world about them, they set a clear course described in the words of Presi- 
dent Amy Ward, "There is no desire to return to the past. They looked 
backward only to see the future clearly." 44 

One hundred fifty Louisiana Methodist women joined 10,000 other 
Methodist women as they held their quadrennial assembly in Louisville, 
Kentucky in 1977-78. The conference UMW ratified the Charter of Racial 
Justice Policies at the 1978 annual meeting. By 1981 Janet (Mrs. Richard) 
Hoffpauir was conference president, and she reported $191,290 sent to 
the Women's Division for undesignated causes, and $143,545 to 
designated projects. 

With Nell (Mrs. Cecil) Read as conference president, Louisiana 
Methodist women were involved in local church and community projects 
as well as attending conference meetings in 1982-83. Their giving through 
the conference treasurer reached $283,705; they participated in peace 
rallies, attended the quadrennial assembly in Philadelphia (one hundred 
strong) and experienced the "best ever" School of Christian Mission at 

In these years United Methodist Women did more with fewer 
members but more money. Conference membership in 1985 was down 
to 12,551 in 334 local church units, but total giving (local and general) 
reached $367,002. Strong emphasis was also made on developing aspects 
of the spiritual life, such as daily meditation, evaluation of spiritual 
disciplines, observance of the call to prayer and self denial, strengthen- 
ing of prayer life, and growth through study. 

328 Becoming One People 

During the quadrennium of 1982-1986, women participated in the 
Centennial Era Celebration, remembering the various predecessor home 
and foreign missionary societies that were founded by the women of the 
five denominations which have come together as the United Methodist 

Janelle (Mrs. C. R.) McCammon, president of the Louisiana Con- 
ference UMW, paid tribute to the pioneers in women's work in her 1986 
report to the annual conference. She concluded by testifying, 'The women 
of today continue to pray, to serve, and to give in that great traclition. ,, 
Among those women leaders she mentioned were five from Louisiana 
that were chosen to be included in a publication on women in mission 
entitled They Went Out Not Knowing, issued by the Women's Division of 
the Board of Global Ministries. These five women were Jennie (Mrs. J. 
C.) Hartzell, Ella Hooper, Wilhelmina Hooper, Hester Williams, and 
Virginia (Mrs. Glenn E.) Laskey. 

United Methodist Men 

The local church organization for Methodist men was authorized in 
the 1944 Discipline, but not a great many were formed in the early years. 
A conference organization was formed on March 30, 1974, and Eloi 
Primeaux was elected president. They designated district directors and 
scheduled a conferencewide men's retreat. In succeeding years district 
retreats as well as conference retreats have been conducted. 

In 1982 the conference Journal carried a report entitled "United 
Methodist Men;" it was not a report from the Board of the Laity, since 
the General Conference had made work with the laity a responsibility 
of the Board of Discipleship. The 1983 report shows that a conference 
organization of United Methodist Men had been formed, with Jack Dew 
as president. Ninety-six churches had organized about 1,500 men in these 
local organizations. They adopted a conference constitution and by-laws. 
In 1985 the executive board of the group focused its program on four 
activities— a retreat, lay witness missions, stewardship emphasis, and 
church renewal. John Tubb of Pineville was program coordinator. 

The 1986 Journal reports 113 active chartered groups plus sixty-two 
formerly active groups that did not recertify in 1985. The report mentioned 
ten lay witness missions in the past year. They commended plans for a 
jurisdictional congress of United Methodist men at Dallas on May 1-3, 
1987, and announced their annual retreat for June 27-28, 1987. 

United We Stand 329 

Other Aspects of Ministry 

The conference carried on much of this work through the Commis- 
sion on Public Relations and Methodist Information. Georgia Daily 
directed that office and sent out many news releases in the early part of 
this era. 

The use of television, radio, and film was encouraged by a conference 
commission devoted to these media. Bishop Walton was chairman of the 
national commission (TRAFCO), and J. C. Love was a member of that 
body. Barry Bailey was chairman of the conference commission's televi- 
sion subcommittee. District workshops have been held in recent years 
to sharpen the skills of local church personnel in their use of radio, televi- 
sion, and other media. Also guidance is given in the preparation of church, 
district, and conference newsletters. 

Communications training events were held from time to time in 
various parts of the state. The communications committee also gave super- 
vision to the Louisiana Conference edition of The Reporter. And it recom- 
mended that local church workers read a section in the 1980 Book of Resolu- 
tions entitled 'The Church in a Mass-Media Culture/' In 1984 the com- 
mittee's membership and functions were enlarged. It had general respon- 
sibility for the selection of films, planning of media festivals in the con- 
ference, and other such events. 

On the popular side of the mass media, it can be mentioned that in 
1981 Homer Bailes, pastor of the Roanoke United Methodist Church, and 
his brothers, John, Walter, and Kyle, were honored by having their music 
included in the Smithsonian's collection of classic country music and the 
Time-Life Album of Country and Western Classics. In 1983 the Bailes brothers 
were inducted into the country music hall of fame's "Walkway of Stars" 
at Nashville, Tennessee. 45 

Movement Toward Theological Conservatism 

Leaders of the Forum for Scriptural Christianity Within The United 
Methodist Church (generally called the good news movement because 
of their publication entitled Good News) did not find very much response 
among the Methodists of Louisiana. This may indicate that most 
Methodist leaders in Louisiana are warm-hearted but cool-headed 
evangelical Christians. The movement began in 1966 as an effort to 
counteract what the leaders labeled "ecumenical liberalism" contrasted 
to what they called the "historic Wesley an point of view." 46 

The movement's national staff produce a monthly paper, Good News, 
and sponsor activities and resource material, which they offer as an alter- 
native to those of the United Methodist Church. Some of these are: 

330 Becoming One People 

(1) youth summer camps, (2) Bible study resources, (3) resources for youth 
work, (4) resources for women's work, (5) confirmation resources, (6) and 
The Epworth Pulpit, a publication with "a holiness-Wesleyan perspective/' 47 
One article in Good News for October, 1968, charged that "Most women's 
societies spend six to eight times as much on themselves as they do on 
missions." The record shows this to be untrue of Louisiana women's 
societies. In fact, the opposite is true. 

Christian Social Concerns 

"Concern" was a good name for this board, and it lived up to its name. 
The Louisiana Conference Board of Social Concerns dealt with many social 
issues and problems in the state, nation, and world. Among these were 
(1) the tendency in Louisiana to spend state education funds on sectarian 
schools which Roman Catholics operated; (2) the work of Alcoholics 
Anonymous, which faced opposition from a strong liquor dealers' lobby; 
(3) persons in prison; (4) underemployment; (5) relations of white and 
black Christians in the same community; (6) relationship between con- 
sumption of alcohol and the tendency in society toward increased violent 
behavior; (7) the increasing prevalence of pornographic material; and (8) 
the need for sex education in the schools, which seemed pressing in light 
of the mounting numbers of teen-age pregnancies. 

In 1972 the board wrestled with the pros and cons of supporting war. 
Members took the position that the Indonesian War was unlike any other 
war in their lifetime and that "it was marked by ambiguous moral claims 
and ambivalent statements as to its nature and purpose.... It has reached 
a point where its Christian justification is not patently clear." 48 The report 
called for a cessation of all combat operations and for all combatants to 
agree to an internationally supervised cease fire. Its chairman was James 
Stovall. Secretary was James Graham, and among the members were Jack 
Winegeart, H. Barry Bailey, Carl Lueg, David B. Cummings, and Keith 
Mason. The conference, in a separate action by a special committee, agreed 
to encourage the movement for equal employment opportunity called 
project equality. 

By 1972-73 the name of the board was changed to Church and Soci- 
ety, but it dealt with the same concerns. In 1973 the conference affirmed 
its "belief in the sanctity of unborn human life" but "recognized tragic 
conflicts of life with life that may justify abortions." 49 In 1983 the con- 
ference asked the General Conference to prohibit any annual conference 
from accepting a practicing homosexual for membership or an 

At other times the conference spoke out on such issues as casino 
gambling, violence in labor-management disputes, and violence in TV 
programs. It commended the Louisiana Moral and Civic Foundation, 
which had for many years been the chief agency through which Louisiana 

United We Stand 331 

Methodists made their impact on moral and civic issues. It opposed in 
1978 proposals to store radioactive waste in the salt domes of Louisiana. 

In 1980 the board deplored the illiteracy in Louisiana and urged 
remedial measures, admonished the wise use of energy, and deplored 
inequity in the salaries of those serving ethnic minority churches. In 1981 
the reports focused on the special needs of persons with handicapping 
conditions and called on local churches to take these into account in their 
programs and facilities. Concern was expressed regarding unwholesome 
content of television programing. 

Disaster Relief was a newly organized but old concern, and it found 
a new niche. In 1984-85 the conference began a program of disaster relief. 
In 1985 the members of the committee coped with three hurricanes, 
several minor floods, chemical spills, and tornadoes. They also guided 
local churches as they helped out in a disaster. In January, 1986, five per- 
sons from the Louisiana Conference went to Mexico to learn how Loui- 
siana Methodists could help earthquake victims. Those going to Mexico 
were conference lay leader, Hubert Blanchard; James Poole; Woodrow 
Smith; Seab Young and Loudan Yantis, both mission volunteers; and Joa- 
quin Garcia of the Nashville Board of Diaconal Ministry. 50 

At various times other groups in the conference spoke out on and 
dealt with such issues as those mentioned above -groups, such as the 
Louisiana Moral and Civic Foundation, Project Equality, Lameco Federal 
Credit Union, the Ministers 7 Emergency Aid Fund, and committees on 
religion and race, peace and world order, emerging social issues, world 
hunger, urban work, hospitals and homes, health and welfare, equitable 
salaries, and disaster relief. 

Louisiana Methodists As Educators 

Numerous Louisiana Methodists have served in higher education, 
both in Louisiana and beyond. First of all, of course, is Centenary Col- 
lege. Presidents Jack S. Wilkes and Donald A. Webb have been ministerial 
members of the conference in this era. Presidents Joe J. Mickle and John 
H. Allen were laymen. Centenary College has also had the benefit of excel- 
lent service from other members of the conference, including Webb D. 
Pomeroy, Robert E. Taylor, W. Ferrell Pledger, Alton O. Hancock, Donald 
G. Emler, and Herbert M. Scott. Albert W. Dent served Dillard as presi- 
dent and was followed by the incumbent, Samuel DuBois Cook. Leon 
Netterville was longtime president of Southern University in Baton Rouge. 

Southern Methodist University and its Perkins School of Theology 
also had faculty and staff members from the Louisiana Conference. They 
are: Benjamin A. Petty, Edwin E. Sylvest, Jr., Douglas E. Jackson, and 
W. Paul McLean, faculty members. Linn C. Richardson serves as direc- 
tor of admissions at Perkins. At Gammon Theological Seminary Alfred 
L. Norris worked in student recruitment for a while, left the school for 
some years, and then returned as president. Clarence H. Snelling has 

332 Becoming One People 

been a longtime professor at Iliff School of Theology and so has Theodore 
R. Weber at Candler School of Theology. Serving at various other col- 
leges and universities are Frederic R. Kellogg, Emory and Henry College; 
L. L. Haynes, Jr., Claflin and Philander-Smith; William C. Richardson, 
University of Wisconsin; and John C. Lane, Oral Roberts University. 

Ministry to the Bereaved 

One of the most important services that the church renders through 
its personnel is comfort and hope to the bereaved. The minister is one 
channel for this service, although lay members are also able to // minister ,, 
to the bereaved. 

The ministers also comfort each other at the death of one of their own 
colleagues in the annual conference. The messages and tributes in the 
annual memorial services are especially meaningful to the bereaved. These 
words spoken of Spencer J. McLean by J. P. Woodland in 1959 are 
recorded in the Louisiana Conference Journal: "Those who knew him as 
a preacher heard sermons grounded in the scriptures and enriched by 
his own deep understanding of human nature and his own sensitiveness 
to everyday problems. Those who knew him as a pastor knew one who 
was ever willing to listen, quick to grasp the heart of a problem, to sense 
the feeling behind the words, not trying to judge but seeking to under- 

Jolly B. Harper wrote these words in the memoir for Henry A. Rickey 
in the 1977 Journal of the conference: "Henry Rickey can never be cap- 
tured in any set of statistics. He was incisive, yet compassionate. He had 
keen convictions, yet was broadminded. He left his mark everywhere he 
went. As was said of Abraham Lincoln at his death, 'A giant oak has fallen 
in the forest and has left a lonesome place against the sky/ We will miss 
Henry for a long time to come." 

Tom H. Matheny responded to a tragic death by quoting from a let- 
ter sent him by the statesman, Adlai Stevenson: "the times are troubled, 
the days are evil, but we must help one another, love one another, if we 
are to survive." 

Services to Persons and Churches 

Louisiana Methodists have been generous in supporting many pro- 
grams and institutions designed to render special services to those who 
are ill and helpless, whether young or old, the physically, financially, or 
socially handicapped, and students. Many of the following agencies have 
been serving for some years; others are more recent. All are supported 
as an act of Christian service to those in need. 

United We Stand 333 

Campus Ministry 

The conference campus ministry budget for 1968 was $100,000. In 1972 
the report of the Conference Board of Education declared proudly: "Our 
conference probably had the most ambitious and extensive of all the cam- 
pus ministry programs in Methodism with eight full time and ten part 
time ministries. ,,51 By 1973 a Wesley Foundation was established at 
Southern University in Baton Rouge, the first such program at a 
predominantly black university in the nation. By 1977 nineteen campus 
ministers were involved in this work, and in 1978 a statewide student 
conference was held. Local churches near the schools were becoming 
active in and supportive of student ministries. By 1983 the Louisiana Con- 
ference ranked first in per capita giving for campus ministry. 

Centenary College, Shreveport 

In 1968 President Jack S. Wilkes reported to the conference optimis- 
tically regarding the college. Enrollment was good, student self- 
government was working, faculty members were involved in professional 
activities that brought distinction to the college, and the budget was 

The last capital gains campaign for the college had been completed 
in 1964. Wilkes announced that one would be proposed at the conference 
session in 1970. But he left in June, 1969, to become vice-president of 
Southern Methodist University. He died unexpectedly a few months later. 
His memoir in the Louisiana Conference Journal praised him for signifi- 
cant achievements at Centenary. These included good relations with 
clergy and laity, fine communications with students, and the first inter- 
racial enrollment, which went smoothly because of good planning. He 
was well respected by the faculty because of his intellectual interest and 
depth. The 1970 conference approved the proposed three year campaign 
to raise $800,000 in scholarships for Christian education, the work of the 
Department of Religion and Philosophy, and other campus religious 

Dr. John Allen was the president from 1970 to 1976. Allen had been 
a pilot in World War II and was awarded the distinguished flying cross, 
the air medal with seven oak leaf clusters, and other medals. He was 
named a distinguished alumnus in 1972 by his alma mater, Southeastern 
State University. He presented to the conference in 1972 a statement reaf- 
firming the historical and legal relationship between the college and the 
conference. A program of church careers was begun at Centenary in 1976 
and was called the Centenary School of Church Careers (CSCC). It com- 
bined studies in the Bible, religion, and philosophy with courses in Chris- 
tian education and church music. Involved in this program were such 


Becoming One People 

United We Stand 335 

Photograph at left: Front row, left to right: Howard Crumley, vice-chairman; Jack 

S. Wilkes, Centenary College president; Bishop Aubrey G. Walton; George D. 

Nelson, Sr., chairman; Edwin F. Whited, secretary. 

Second row: Douglas Attaway, Bentley Sloane, O. D. Harrison, Sr., Mrs. Glenn 

E. Laskey, Mrs. L. B. Kilpatrick, Carl Lueg, James C. Gardner, Sr. 

Third row: A. J. Hodges, Sr., Douglas L. McGuire, Dana Dawson, Jr., Sam Nader, 

James T. Harris, William Russell Barrow, G. W. James. 

Fourth row: W. Crawford Fullilove, Jr., Donald W. Weir, Charlton H. Lyons, Jr., 

Charles Ellis Brown, Marlin W. Drake, Sr., Cecil E. Ramey, Jr. 

Fifth row: Charles T. Beaird, J. C. Love, Jr., Dale Waller, Tom H. Matheny, J. 

Henry Bowdon, Sr., Sam B. Grayson. 

Sixth row: Emmett R. Hook, James M. Patterson, Charles D. Knight, Sr. 

Members not pictured: N. H. Wheless, Jr., D. L. Dykes, Jr., John B. Atkins, Jr., 

George Harbuck, Sam H. Jones, J. Robert Welsh, G. M. Anderson, Perry Brown, 

J. Pat Beaird and R. Z. Biedenharn. 

persons as Webb Pomeroy, Robert Ed Taylor, Donald Emler, Bert Scott, 
Wilson Brent, and Bentley Sloane. 

This new venture was made possible partly by a gift of $400,000 to 
establish the first endowed chair at Centenary, the T. L. James Chair of 
Religion. A year earlier the Brown Foundation of Houston had provided 
a grant of $400,000 for an academic chair. In 1977 the Frost Foundation 
of Shreveport gave $1,038,000 for the School of Business; a gift of $400,000 
from the Woolf Foundation of Shreveport endowed a chair of Geology; 
and John Lund gave a trust fund of $100,000 for the benefit of students 
in church careers. Executive Vice-President and Dean Theodore R. Kauss 
served as acting president during the 1976-1977 academic year, and 
Donald A. Webb arrived as president in mid-1977. 

Webb decided immediately that decisive action had to be taken to 
avoid a most severe financial crisis. In the fall of 1977, he appealed to 
the conference on the basis that "this College belongs to Louisiana 
Methodists. We have this ministry together/' 52 He outlined the various 
measures the college was taking to reduce expenses, and closed by ask- 
ing "my fellow church people for help/' 

As testimony to the feeling that Louisiana Methodists have for 
Centenary College and to their willingness to meet the needs of Methodist 
institutions, Louisiana Methodists responded to Webb's plea by giving 
during the next few years over two million dollars. 

A well known and popular group from the college is the Centenary 
College Choir. For nearly fifty years the choir has traveled extensively 
in the state, the nation, and the world performing in such places as New 
York, Paris, London, Beijing, Tokyo, and Moscow, with an average of 
seventy-five appearances each year. It has had engagements before Lions 
International and at Radio City Music Hall. In 1984-85 they toured an area 
from Greece to Denmark. A. C. "Cheesy" Voran and Will K. Andress 
have been the directors. 

Among Donald Webb's achievements as president at Centenary, these 
had occurred by 1985: a balanced budget for eight years, an increase in 

336 Becoming One People 

the endowment to twenty million dollars, the securing of seven endowed 
professorial chairs, the improvement of the physical plant, the improve- 
ment of the liberal arts curriculum, and more. 53 Although the college is 
solid, it is not "well fixed." Increased enrollment and addition to the 
endowment are pressing needs as the college looks toward the 1990s. 

In these years a program was started to encourage every local 
Methodist Church that could do so to pay the expenses of a student at 
Centenary. A great many did this, to the benefit of the college -and the 

In 1985 Centenary College was listed in Best Buys in College Education 
among 221 four-year colleges in the nation and was reported to be "offer- 
ing high quality education at below-average cost." In the same year 
Centenary was ranked by a poll of over 1,300 college presidents sixth 
among 168 best colleges in the South. This recognition was reported in 
U. S. News and World Report on November 25, 1985. 

Dillard University 

Dillard University has a joint relationship with The United Methodist 
Church and The United Church of Christ. Also, the trustees from the 
Methodist side are named by the General Board of Higher Education. 
Dillard, then, lacks a bit of the close relation to Louisiana Methodists that 
it had when they were the chief owner and provided most of the sup- 
port. Nevertheless, Louisiana Methodists feel pride as Dillard rises in the 
academic world. Dillard continues to educate many Methodist youth. 

In 1976 Dillard University reported it had nineteen buildings, a faculty 
of about 100 and an average of 1,200 students. By that year the univer- 
sity had graduated 4,900 persons. Samuel DuBois Cook, formerly pro- 
fessor at Duke University, became the sixth president. Since that time 
emphasis has been placed on training nurses, an area in which the univer- 
sity excels. In 1976-77 the school received a federal grant of two and a 
half million dollars and other recognition of its excellent work. In 1977 
President Cook commented on the strong ties the university enjoyed with 
The United Methodist Church through the interest of Bishops Finis A. 
Crutchfield and J. Kenneth Shamblin. He also commented in 1978 that 
"a chief reason for the well-being of Dillard University is the increased 
support, guidance, and sensitivity of The United Methodist Church." 54 

In 1979 Dillard reported the highest enrollment in its 110 year history. 
In 1983 President Cook pointed out that during the past forty years Dillard 
had supplied New Orleans with ninety percent of its black nurses. More 
recently the university has introduced the use of computer technology 
to all areas of its instruction. 

In 1985 Darlene Moore, a senior at Dillard, was chosen to join a group 
of students who would spend ten weeks traveling across the nation 
visiting Methodist churches. Their purpose was to create interest in and 

United We Stand 337 

support for the Black College Fund. That year, Louisiana Methodists gave 
almost $100,000 for the Black College Fund, of which seventy-five per- 
cent went to Dillard University. 

In 1985 President Cook reported that the University was not only 
transmitting factual knowledge to students, but was also raising moral 
and ethical questions in its courses. "In biology, for example, students 
address moral issues related to the science of genetics, organ transplants, 
nuclear energy, use of pesticides, and the use of life support facilities for 
the hopelessly ill." 55 

Dulac Community Center 

The educational work with the Dulac Indians in this era was mainly 
supportive and motivational. This was accomplished primarily through 
day care and home visitation programs and also by tutoring and youth 
counseling. This community had a pressing need for greater access to 
medical care. In an effort to improve economic conditions a little, a fisher- 
man's co-op was organized. 

By 1977 a major shift in the purpose and scope of the work with the 
Dulac Indians was made. The center no longer tried to minister to the 
full spectrum of needs but concentrated its efforts on those areas 
addressed by the Dulac Community Center. A second change was to 
involve the local people more extensively in decision-making and in actu- 
ally carrying out various phases of programs. A third change was to 
encourage local persons to revive their traditional arts and crafts, which 
some of them had forgotten. Later the Indians exhibited their crafts at 
conference. Leaders of the community reported in 1981 that they believed 
the Dulac Indians were confident and capable enough to initiate and 
manage many of their own projects. 

By 1986 the signs of progress resulting from some fifty years of 
ministry there were clear. The leaders predicted that the United Houma 
Nation were in a period of transition, after which it could assume full 
responsibility for its destiny. The center recently received a grant from 
the Women's Division for construction of a new building and for repairs 
to structures damaged by hurricane Juan. There is an integrated program 
used for the work at both Dulac and Houma. 

Glenwood Hospital, West Monroe 

Glenwood Hospital reported in 1966 that it had rendered services to 
7,000 persons in the past year. There were 496 new babies born in that 
span of time, and it required 275 employees to serve its patients. In 1967 
work began on a $1,500,000 expansion which added two additional floors 
onto the building. In 1968-69 the number of rooms in the hospital was 

338 Becoming One People 

increased from 102 to 176. In 1977 it expanded its facilities by 27,000 square 
feet and was providing excellent medical service. 

This hospital was not built by Louisiana Methodists, but they were 
asked to name the twenty-eight members of the board of trustees and 
to manage the hospital. Three-fourths of those trustees chosen were 
members of The Methodist Church. The conference named Ewell 
Singleton as hospital administrator. For nearly twenty years this facility 
was managed by the conference; then, when asked to do so, the con- 
ference transferred the hospital back to the citizens of West Monroe, who 
had built it. This was done in 1981. 56 There was no criticism or bad feel- 
ing about the matter. B. A. Galloway, president of the conference Board 
of Trustees, assured the conference that the relation had been most pleas- 
ant and mutually rewarding. 

Lafon Home, New Orleans 

In the early and mid-1960s the home was in process of changing its 
location and erecting new facilities on Caton Street. Plans listed for three 
cottages for married couples and a new brick cottage for the caretaker. 
In 1965 the home had facilities to care for 125 persons. The next year, 
buildings at the home suffered damage by hurricane Betsy; repairs cost 
several thousand dollars. 

In 1967 the home celebrated its centenary. It had started out as the 
"Methodist Asylum," but changed its name in 1872. In the 1960s it was 
also faced with an expense of $85,000 to modernize the facilities. Many 
new demands were being made on such institutions by the government 
and by those whom they served. W. T. Handy, Jr., was helpful in guiding 
the changes that were required. Mr. and Mrs. Clarence O. Greene retired 
as administrators of the home in 1967 and were succeeded by Alfred 

In 1970 the feasibility of enlarging the facility was explored. Eighty- 
five persons resided at the home and forty-five employees ran it. By 1971 
the budget was almost $222,000, compared to under $96,000 in 1964. In 
1975 the home completed a $50,000 renovation of the facilities only to 
be told a year later that the building did not meet standards. It was ordered 
closed by January 31, 1976. Application was then made to federal and 
local agencies for money to rebuild. A 1976 grant of $400,000 from the 
Harry R. Kendall Fund of the General Board of Global Ministries resulted 
in a plan for new facilities. Occupants had to be housed elsewhere dur- 
ing the rebuilding on a new location, which was completed by 1984. Per- 
sons serving on a committee to guide in the rebuilding included Bishop 
Shamblin, W. D. Boddie, W. D. Cotton, Congresswoman Lindy Boggs, 
and Samuel W. Walker, Sr., chairperson. Edward Long was the new 
superintendent. Bishop Walter L. Underwood consecrated the building 
in September 1984, assisted by Alfred L. Norris, William R. London, Jr., 

United We Stand 339 

William C. Blakely, Nathaniel P. Williams, Samuel L. Walker, and Mrs. 
Veora Lundy, president of the home auxiliary. 

The Louisiana United Methodist, Baton Rouge 

In addition to the weekly issue of The Louisiana United Methodist, a 
great many news releases for the secular press went out through the offi- 
ces of conference and district directors of Methodist information. The 
director of the conference Commission on Methodist Information was 
Lona Wilson. She also edited the Louisiana area news edition of Together 
magazine. She left this office in June, 1965, to be followed by Georgia 
Daily, whose efforts were evaluated as "capable and tireless." 57 

Annual first of the year campaigns were mounted to secure subscrip- 
tions. In 1965 the goal (or quota) for the conference totaled 17,430, based 
on membership in churches and districts. By mid-February of that year 
the drive had resulted in new and renewed subscriptions of 12,606. Ruston 
District had more than met its quota with 114 per cent. 

In 1968 at report time in February, subscriptions had reached 10,003. 
In 1972, with a quota of 18,386, the churches, by the February report time, 
had reached a total of only 8,197 subscriptions. By 1974 The Louisiana 
United Methodist Reporter, published nationwide, was serving Louisiana 
Methodists, who soon had 8,609 direct subscriptions with seven local 
churches sending their own editions into 4,876 homes. That made a total 
of 13,485. This use of the Reporter as the conference paper was advan- 
tageous in several ways. It gave the readers a page of conference news 
and promotion, along with news of United Methodist activities at large 
and also permitted local churches to use a page of their own if they 

In the late 1970s, there was an emphasis on training local church per- 
sons to publicize their own churches through the local media. In 1981 
a journalism student at Louisiana State University was employed to assist 
in preparing stories and articles for the Louisiana United Methodist. 

By 1985-86 the Louisiana United Methodist had developed a character 
of its own, though still an edition of the United Methodist Reporter. The 
conference uses the front page for its own purposes and carries a feature 
called "The Bishop's Corner," in which Bishop Walter Underwood writes 
about anything he wants to emphasize, to promote, or simply to "get 
off his chest." The column carries his picture, almost always in a different 
pose or with another person. From time to time the back page is used 
to promote a conference cause or agency. 

MacDonell Methodist Center, Houma 

This center, a project of the Women's Society of Christian Service, 
was given a $10,000 supplementary sum in the early part of this era. The 

340 Becoming One People 

earlier mission school had been developed into a refuge for abused or 
neglected children. There they received counseling and special tutoring. 
It also provided family and marital counseling. In 1980 with a staff of 
twenty-eight, it could provide residential care for thirty children and 
emergency care for a lesser number. Gerald J. Bridges is executive director. 

Methodist Children's Home, Ruston 

In 1965 Superintendent Harry Ezell expressed dissatisfaction because 
(1) the home could not accept more children; (2) there were no solutions 
to the problems of many neglected children; (3) some children were left 
where they ought not to be; and (4) some children were sent where they 
ought not to go. In 1969 several of the buildings at the home were 
expanded and improved. Since some children had continuing emotional 
problems, a smaller percentage than might be expected went on to col- 
lege or prepared for a profession or a trade. 

According to the 1975 report, during the year the home gave con- 
sultations on the care of 176 children not actually living in the home and 
had 105 resident children. Some of these children had not done well at 
other institutions and therefore had been sent to the Methodist Home 
for treatment. Since the Methodist facility offers a specialized service that 
not many other homes can provide, the Methodist Home had more 
applicants then it could accept. 

In 1979 the home served 212 children; the average length of stay was 
ten and a half months. By 1982 some black children were at the home. 
By 1985 the home was able to offer counseling to families within their 
own home and thereby to prevent breakup of existing family units. 

Methodist Home-Hospital, New Orleans 

This home was still aiding unwed mothers and their babies but was 
handicapped by a dearth of adoptive homes for the babies. In addition, 
the home was affected when the two Mississippi Conferences that were 
helping support the institution cut back their contributions. By 1971 the 
home was able to render service to a number of young black women and 
their babies. It reported in 1972 that $60,000 were spent on necessary 
capital improvements and renovations. 

The charter of Methodist Home-Hospital was changed in 1973 to allow 
it, in addition to its previous ministry, to receive and care for abused, 
deserted, and neglected children. This care was designed to be emergency 
and temporary. The facility was licensed to care for sixty children. Later 
the name was changed to The Methodist Home of New Orleans. During 
the period covered in this chapter, it took care of over 2,000 children. 

United We Stand 341 

By 1981 the Methodist Home was the largest emergency shelter for 
abused and neglected children in the State of Louisiana. It had a budget 
of over $800,000. In 1985 the home cared for 289 children. Conrad Edwards 
was superintendent from 1983 to 1985, and W. O. Lynch, Jr., took over 
that post in 1986. 

Pendleton Memorial Methodist Hospital, New Orleans 

This hospital was planned as early as 1962, and by 1966 $200,000 had 
been raised or pledged. Soon after, the hospital building was started and 
was opened in September, 1968. Its growth was slow but steady. Over 
700 patients were served in 1971-72, and full accreditation was secured 
from the proper agency. By 1977 it had expanded its capacity to 330 beds. 
At first it was called simply Methodist Hospital. 

Early in 1979 the hospital was renamed Pendleton Memorial 
Methodist Hospital in honor of one of its founders, Pendleton E. Lehde. 
It served 14,000 patients in that year, ministered to 22,000 persons in the 
emergency room, and welcomed 1,807 new babies. John B. Koelemay 
retired in 1982 after eighteen years as chaplain and program director. In 
1985 it gave $1,200,000 of free and partially-paid care. It has developed 
numerous subsidiary units to provide special services and is one unit 
among several operating as the Methodist Health Systems Foundation. 
It conducts clinical pastoral training for ministers. The hospital sponsors 
extensive community projects such as Alcoholics Anonymous, expectant 
parents classes, and a workshop on aging. 

One Thousand Club 

By 1973 the Bob Lay Memorial One Thousand Club had answered 
a total of fifty-six calls for $10,000 each, resulting in the building, 
relocating, or replacing of forty-eight churches, one prison chapel, and 
one hospital chapel. This fund-raising project was entrusted to the Board 
of the Laity in 1975. 

In the 1980s the cost of building had increased so much that the goal 
of the club was raised from $30,000 to $75,000 annually. The focus is at 
present to help build churches in areas where no Methodist church now 

People's Community Center, New Orleans 

This community center continued its excellent work. Major factors 
influencing its program were the trend toward smaller families, more 
working wives, earlier marriages, and more disruption of family life. By 
1966 the center was involved in the federal antipoverty program. The 
center served to some degree as an agency of the city's welfare department 

342 Becoming One People 

and the United Fund. Nathaniel P. Perry began as superintendent in 1966 
following Richard W. Calvin. By 1970 the center operated four day care 

By 1976 the staff consisted of twenty-eight highly qualified persons, 
some with college degrees and teaching certificates. The total budget then 
was $130,000, of which the United Fund provided $36,000. Alfred Norris 
and Robert F. Harrington were active in assisting the center. In the mid 
1970s the word "Methodist" was dropped from the title. 

The center was a meeting place for such groups as the Black Caucus 
(clergy), the local branch of the Association of University Women, and 
many church groups. It also served as a distribution point for govern- 
ment surplus food, such as cheese and butter. 

The center had a crisis in 1981-82 when many persons in the com- 
munity lost their jobs and could not pay even its low charges for day care. 

Sager Brown School, Baldwin 

In 1965 two modern brick buildings were added to the campus, and 
the staff numbered sixteen. In 1967 four more new buildings were com- 
pleted, and the school had an active Methodist Youth Fellowship meeting 
there regularly. One graduate was attending Paine College in Georgia. 
Rosie Ann Cobb was superintendent-principal. In 1976 the school was 
still serving the basic purpose of caring for children with predelinquent 
or mildly delinquent behavior. The full-time staff numbered twenty-six; 
they served 112 persons; and federal funds supplied two thirds of the cost. 

At the Louisiana Conference in 1979 the Board of Global Ministries 
announced that it planned to close the school on June 30, 1979. This action 
was due to withdrawal of funding by the state and by the General Board 
of Global Ministries. 

St. Mark's Community Center, New Orleans 

This center continued the fine work it had been doing with youth 
since 1909; it was one of the best known in the nation. Its program offered 
a free clinic, after school recreation programs, and creative arts, among 
other fine services and programs. Its arts program had been twice funded 
by the National Endowment for the Arts. It served about 300 youth a day 
in 1976 and was the largest private youth-serving agency in New Orleans. 
The staff consisted in 1978 of sixty full-time persons. 

St. Mark's Street Academy was an alternative junior high school for 
seventy-five youth, and maintained a day care center. By 1986 it had 
added prevocational training and job placement for youth. 

United We Stand 343 

Keeping Up With The Past 

Louisiana Methodists have been proud of their history since their early 
years. The name of Richmond Nolley as the first ministerial martyr on 
Louisiana soil is sacred to those knowing his story. In 1973 the conference 
voted to designate Nolley's grave a "United Methodist Site/' and the proj- 
ect was completed by 1977. 

By the beginning of this era, Centenary College was developing a col- 
lection of historical material about the Methodists of Louisiana. Members 
of the Junior League of Shreveport volunteered for clerical assistance to 
the library staff in cataloging and indexing this material. Many of the 
records have been put on microfilm, including the files of the New Orleans 
Christian Advocate. J. Henry Bowdon, Sr., and H. L. Johns were especially 
helpful in finding and securing important items for the Methodist collec- 
tion at Centenary. 

The conference archival material is housed in Centenary's Cline Room, 
named in honor of Pierce Cline, historian and former president of 
Centenary College. The first part-time librarian for the Methodist collec- 
tion in the Cline room was Mrs. Kathleen Owens. Librarian Carolyn 
Garison is currently in charge of the archives and renders efficient help 
to researchers, and James G. Volny, head librarian, is supportive of the 

In 1970 an effort was begun to secure data on the history of Methodist 
Protestant churches and on Evangelical and United Brethren churches 
in Louisiana, as well as the Methodist Episcopal and Methodist Episcopal, 
South churches. 

In connection with the 1971 merger, Dillard University was designated 
as the depository for historical material on black Methodists in the state. 
Carole Taylor went to "Mother Wesley" Church and brought to Dillard 
an important collection of documents relating to black Methodist history. 
Each local church was asked to prepare a written history, which many 
of them have done and deposited at both Dillard and Centenary. W. T. 
Handy, Jr., was chairman of this project. 

After the merger of the two conferences a service of dedication was 
held for the historical materials placed at Dillard University in the W. W. 
Alexander Library. Alfred P. Norris presided, and Bishop Finis A. Crutch- 
field gave the dedication address. Others participating were Leslie P. Nor- 
ris, President Samuel DuBois Cook, W. T. Handy, Sr., Robert F. Har- 
rington, and James E. Christie, chairman of the Commission on Archives 
and History. 

Some of the recent leaders of the conference Commission on Archives 
and History are Mrs. W. M. Nolan, member of a pioneer Louisiana 
Methodist family, James Christie, A. G. Taylor, Wadsworth Davis, W. 
M. McCutcheon, Walter Lowrey, Spiller Milton, Alton O. Hancock, and 
Norma (Mrs. Jack) Winegeart. With their long knowledge of Conference 

344 Becoming One People 

B the Handys, father and son, have made a valuable contribution to this 

In 1976 the commission proposed the writing and publishing of a 
history of Louisiana Methodism by 1979-80. Walter Lowrey was to be the 
author, but his death deprived the Methodists in Louisiana of his fine 
insights into their history. The volume you are reading now is based on 
the earlier authorization. 

The churches that have qualified for and received historical markers 
by 1986 are these: ARIZONA UMC, Homer; BAYOU CHICOT, Ville 
Platte; BETHEL UMC, Pride; DAYS UMC, Greensburg; FIRST UMC, Col- 
umbia; FIRST UMC, Winnsboro; GIBSON UMC, Thibodaux; HOLLY 
GROVE UMC, Anacoco; JACKSON UMC, Jackson; MT. ZION, aban- 
doned site on Homer/ Athens road; PHARR CHAPEL UMC, Morgan City; 
PLAQUEMINE BRULEE MEC, near Branch in Acadia Parish; OAK 
RIDGE UMC, Oak Ridge; WALDHEIM UMC, near Covington in St. 
Tamany Parish ; WESLEY CHAPEL UMC, near Ruston in Lincoln Parish; 
tholomew; and FIRST UMC, Crowley. There are likely others that have 
such markers that have not been reported to the Commission on Archives 
and History. 

Epilogue: Past, Present, Future 
A Look Back 

Louisiana Methodists have a great, though not an easy, past to look 
back upon. They had monumental difficulties to overcome in a pioneer 
state with undeveloped terrain and institutions and a population having 
few cultural graces— except those of hospitality, honesty, and thriftiness. 
In addition, Methodist preachers faced opposition from a strong, com- 
petitive, well-established religious body with which they were in the main 
unfamiliar. To offset these difficulties Louisiana Methodism had a loyal 
laity and a dedicated and effective clergy. 

The advantages of the connectional ties of a strong denomination were 
very important in the outcome. This meant economic benefits; for exam- 
ple, the denomination would supplement the preacher's salary and con- 
tribute funds toward construction of a church when necessary. The 
Methodist system of appointing pastors annually meant that no church 
was ever without a pastor and no pastor was ever without a pastorate. 
There were always pastors to invite all people in Louisiana to join the 
Methodist Church: black or white, rich or poor, educated or unlettered. 
As they pursued that task, pastors were supervised and counseled by 
presiding elders and a bishop. We have seen the advantages of the annual 
conference of pastors (and later, the laity) where they reviewed the past 

United We Stand 345 

year and made plans for the future, plus renewing their own spiritual 

We have traced how Louisiana Methodists joined their Mississippi 
brethren in starting a school in 1841. They named it Centenary College, 
because they voted to establish it in 1839 on the centenary of John Wesley's 
beginning of his public ministry. In 1845 it was moved to Jackson, Loui- 
siana, where it took over the campus and the history of the defunct Col- 
lege of Louisiana, and adopted the date of the state school's beginning, 
1825, as its own. Centenary and Mansfield Female Colleges were inade- 
quately funded during many of these years. As they struggled against 
adversity, Mansfield Female College finally had to close. 

In the early days of Louisiana we saw that Methodist preachers and 
laity, persons such as Lorenzo Dow, Edward McGehee, William Winans, 
and Linus Parker were as able as any in the nation. But any such list as 
we give here will inevitably omit some persons who ought to be included. 
Readers will have their own list. 

A Ministry to Blacks 

We have noted that before the Civil War, Methodists in the state 
devoted much of their time and resources to evangelizing the blacks, 
almost all of whom were at that time, of course, slaves. Methodists pro- 
vided them pastors and teachers. We also noted that Methodists in the 
South— preachers and laity— defended slavery and generally were sup- 
portive of the Confederacy. We have seen how the Methodist churches 
were disrupted by the war, and how much of the state was impoverished 
by its impact. 

After the war the members of the M. E. Church, South suffered finan- 
cially and could not help the newly-freed slaves as much as the M. E. 
representatives who came South after federal troops gained control of 
the area. Teachers and ministers of the M. E. Church performed an excel- 
lent service in providing schools and colleges and other institutions for 
blacks in Louisiana. The M. E. Church, South thus lost many of its black 
members to the M. E. Church. Eventually, the M. E. Church, South 
assisted the remaining blacks in organizing their own church as the Col- 
ored (now Christian) Methodist Episcopal Church. 

In the succeeding years, the M. E. Church, South regained its vigor 
and developed outstanding ministers and laity throughout the state. The 
Methodist Episcopal Church congregations in Louisiana consisted almost 
exclusively of blacks; there were few M. E. churches in the state with 
white members. 


Becoming One People 

Courtesy of Nancy Carruth and ]. J. Caraway 

Fifteenth World Methodist Council and Conference 
Nairobi, Kenya 

1. Nancy Carruth and Bishop Benjamin R. Oliphint. 

2. Donald A. Webb, Nancy Carruth, and James J. Caraway. 

3. Mae and George W. C. Calvin. 

4. Candy Riley, John Cooksey and Janice Hart. 

5. Bishop W. T. Handy, Jr. 

United We Stand 347 

Becoming One People 

Events and traditional structures combined to separate Methodist peo- 
ple in Louisiana into laity-clergy, black- white, men-women, and different 
denominations. Great strides have been made during the last one hun- 
dred years toward overcoming these barriers to unity. The laity were given 
a voice in decision-making at every level of church life from the local 
church to the General Conference, first men and then women. The 1939 
union ended denominational barriers which had separated Methodists 
into the M. E., M. E., South, and M. P. churches. The clerical circle enlarg- 
ed to include women. In 1968 The United Methodist Church was formed 
to add the former Evangelical and Reformed churches to those who had 
united in 1939. In 1971 the barriers separating black and white United 
Methodists were dissolved, bringing Methodism yet a step closer to 
becoming one people. 

A Look Around 

How does Louisiana Methodism seem to be faring in these days of 
1986 in the light of its history? First, we have seen that it looks well- 
organized and efficient. The Conference Council on Ministries is func- 
tioning well, with a multitude of responsibilities and a fine Executive 
Director in Harvey G. Williamson. The two institutions of higher educa- 
tion, Centenary College and Dillard University, are in good financial and 
educational condition under their respective presidents, Donald A. Webb 
and Samuel DuBois Cook. The other institutions of the conference are 
well organized and functioning satisfactorily. 

There is, however, still room for improvement. After a study done 
in 1985, the task force on outdoor ministries concluded that the conference 
"simply does not have adequate facilities for such activities as con- 
ferencewide youth retreats, UMW and UMM meetings.... A place apart 
with adequate facilities appears to be the best solution to our need." The 
committee is currently studying various possibilities. 58 

We have noted that Louisiana Methodists have been -and are -active 
in ecumenical affairs. They were in the former state Council of Churches 
and were among the leaders in forming the present Louisiana Interchurch 
Conference. Both J. Woodrow Hearn and Bishop J. Kenneth Shamblin 
have served as president of the Council of Churches, and Robert F. Har- 
rington and James L. Stovall have each served as the executive director 
of the Interchurch Conference. 

The Louisiana Conference was well represented in 1986 at the fifteenth 
World Methodist Council and Conference in Nairobi. Three lay delegates 
were Nancy Carruth, John Cooksey, and Carol Caraway; and the six 
clerical delegates were George W. C. Calvin, James J. Caraway, Ester L. 
Hammond, W. Dwight Ramsey, David R. Trickett, and Donald A. Webb. 

348 Becoming One People 

In addition there were five visitors: Mrs. Mae Calvin, Mrs. Janice Hart, 
Mrs. Candy Riley, Jenny Ramsey, and Kim Ramsey. 

Bishop Benjamin R. Oliphint, a former member of the Louisiana Con- 
ference, was installed as a member of the Presidium of the World 
Methodist Council for 1986-1991. He will be the only active United 
Methodist bishop to serve as an officer of the World Methodist Council 
for the quinquennium. Nancy Carruth was elected to the Council's exec- 
utive committee. John Cooksey of Monroe also traveled to the Maua 
Methodist Hospital in Meru, Kenya, where he performed eye surgery 
and instructed Kenyan physicians in eye surgery. Assisting him were two 
of his nurses, Mrs. Janice Hart and Mrs. Candy Riley. Accompanying him 
to the Maua Methodist Hospital were Dwight Ramsey and his daughters, 
Kim and Jenny. Dr. Cooksey donated a large amount of equipment and 
medical supplies, as well as his time and expertise. 59 

Members of the Board of Church and Society, who are responsible 
for reporting to the conference regarding local, national, and international 
social concerns have shown they have a good grasp of the problems and 
their possible solutions and of sources for further information. 

The United Methodist Women— and their predecessors under other 
names— is one of the most effective church organizations in the state. Their 
officers have been devoted and efficient. They have carried on a program 
aimed at lessening antisocial and antichristian influences, and they raise 
a great amount of money for such causes. They assist or maintain 
numerous institutions for children, youth, working mothers, and older 
adults. Their giving reported in 1986 was slightly over $367,000. They have 
sponsored many training sessions and study groups that have made their 
members alert, informed, and loyal workers in the church. 

Special Ministries to Ethnic Minorities 

Two new churches in New Orleans are now in place to meet emerg- 
ing needs. One of these is the Korean Church, started in 1983. Han Lee 
was the pastor for two years. He was a full-time local pastor and at the 
end of the first year reported forty members. Chang Kyu Lee became 
pastor in February, 1985, having transferred from the Wyoming Con- 
ference. He reported fifty-six members in 1986. 

The other United Methodist ministry in this era in another language 
is the Spanish speaking ministry, listed in the 1980 Journal under: 'To 
Be Supplied/' In 1981 it was listed as having twenty-three members, with 
an average attendance of forty-five. Juan Sanfiel was appointed pastor 
in 1981. He was listed as a full-time local pastor, and his wife, Marta, 
was also a full-time local pastor, and an associate to her husband. San- 
fiel's life was many faceted. He was a native of Cuba and an ordained 
minister. He had been a district superintendent, an evangelist, a school 
principal, and a forced laborer in Cuba's communist controlled cane fields. 

United We Stand 349 

Cut off from his wife and son for ten years and harassed by Cuban 
authorities, he finally escaped to Spain. He died in New Orleans in June, 
1984, but his wife carried on the work faithfully. 60 In 1986 there were sixty 
members reported and one hundred preparatory members. 

Recent leaders of Louisiana Methodism have been resourceful in car- 
rying on their ministry. Black Methodists had to learn in earlier years to 
"make do" with inadequate funds, but they have survived. Now their 
ministry is more solidly supported. Blacks find their white brethren and 
sisters are sharing the responsibility that they carried alone before 1971. 
The opposite is also true; black Methodists are sharing the task white 
Methodists carried alone before 1971. Both find it a good partnership. 

The Louisiana Conferences have been a training ground for ministerial 
members who have been recognized churchwide in various ways. Some 
have gone to other conferences or have served in other prominent church 
positions. Among these are William Winans, preacher and scholar par 
excellence; Holland N. McTyeire, historian and ecclesiastical statesman; 
Joseph C. Hartzell, pastor, founder of the Southwestern Christian Advocate, 
and executive of the Freedmen's Aid Society; Fitzgerald S. Parker, 
Ep worth League executive; Franklin N. Parker, theologian and seminary 
dean; Sam A. Steel, who left his mark here and there; John A. Rice, Old 
Testament scholar; Virgil D. Morris, for thirteen years Executive Direc- 
tor for the South Central Jurisdiction; William E. Trice, W. T. Handy, Sr., 
and Jolly B. Harper, who led the conference toward including all Loui- 
siana Methodists into one fellowship; W. T. Handy, Jr., as pastor, and 
for ten years vice president of The United Methodist Publishing House; 
Lea Joyner, who elevated women pastors to the same status as men; and 
Barry Bailey, who has developed a highly influential television ministry. 
Many of the lay members have demonstrated that lay Christians are as 
effective and important as ministerial members, typified by Virginia Davis 
(Mrs. Glenn E.) Laskey in her many years of leadership in numerous 
aspects of the local, conference, and worldwide mission of the church; 
and Thomas H. Matheny, equally a servant of the church when it needs 
his services, as demonstrated during his chairmanship of the Judicial 
Council of the denomination for many years. 

An imposing array of persons who have served, or been the product 
of, Louisiana Methodism have been advanced to the episcopacy of The 
United Methodist Church since the 1939 union. These include Alexander 
P. Shaw, Charles C. Selecman, Lorenzo H. King, W. Angie Smith, J. W. 
E. Bo wen, Jr., Dana Dawson, Sr., Prince A. Taylor, Jr., W. Ralph Ward, 
Jr., O. Eugene Slater, L. Scott Allen, Robert E. Goodrich, Jr., W. T. Handy, 
Jr., Benjamin R. Oliphint, Melvin G. Talbert, and J. Woodrow Hearn. 

350 Becoming One People 

Recent Trends: Membership, Finances 

This current period of nearly twenty years has seen some fluctuation 
in membership. In 1966 white members were reported as 123,397. This 
increased for two years to 124,567 in 1968. Then began a decline which 
was likely due to the movement toward merging with the black 
Methodists in Louisiana. We have noted already that among white 
Methodists there was a definite opposition to merging. This decline con- 
tinued until the membership reached 119,202 in the report in 1971. 

Merger brought 18,012 black Methodists to the new conference, and 
that resulted in a total membership of 137,214 for 1971. But an unusually 
large number of removals occurred in these years in the former South 
Central churches following merger. Thus one is forced to conclude that 
merger was the cause of the loss. But leaders took the position that the 
church is not engaged in a popularity contest, ''but in declaring, as best 
it can determine, the will of God for mankind's guidance." 

Trends in Sunday school membership since merger have been erratic, 
but chiefly downward, until recently. From 1972 to 1983, membership 
dropped some each year, going from 64,012 to 56,556. But the 1984 Jour- 
nal revealed a turn upward, to 57,045; some persons must have heard 
that Bishop Underwood was coming! In 1985 the Journal reported 59,047. 
Bishop Underwood's emphasis on new Sunday school classes was 

The decline in oil and gas prices and Louisiana's becoming in March, 
1986, the state with the highest unemployment rate in the nation had 
an effect on church finances, although not drastic. In recent years the 
total budget of local churches had increased considerably each year, from 
$33,666,019 in 1983 to $41,468,160 in 1986. The conference's total income 
each year has been more than the previous year, but the gain over the 
previous year has been smaller each year. 

The Louisiana Conference was nevertheless making progress nation- 
ally in measurable terms. This fact is borne out by charts prepared since 
1979 on all United Methodist Conferences by C. W. Kelley of Blairsville, 
Pennsylvania. On the basis of these charts Louisiana has risen from 
twenty-eighth among the seventy-three conferences in 1979 to seventh 
in 1982. These ratings were figured on the basis of the percentages of 
gain in new members, the percentage of loss of members, the average 
attendance at Sunday worship, the average attendance at Sunday school, 
the average contribution of members annually, the percentage of the total 
amount given that went to benevolences, and the average salary of 

The Louisiana Conference had increased its membership in these 
three years by 1,744 persons; average church attendance had increased 
from 37.8 percent to 38.1 percent; dollars contributed by members annu- 
ally had increased from $175.23 to $240.87; and the pastor's annual average 

United We Stand 351 

salary had increased from $13,247 to $18,045. The Louisiana Conference 
ranked second in the nation in outreach, which refers to the percentage 
of offerings devoted to benevolences beyond the local church. 

Some Louisiana pastorates have been of long tenure. This has been 
especially true of the larger churches — but not exclusively. For we noted 
earlier that the late, beloved Lea Joyner had the longest pastorate in 
modern times— probably of all times in Louisiana. Her record was thirty- 
two years, and she was not in one of the larger church. She also had the 
distinction of being the pastor of the largest church in U.S. Methodism 
served by a woman. The next longest pastoral tenure in Louisiana is that 
of D. L. Dykes, Jr., at First Church, Shreveport. Dykes also has the distinc- 
tion of pioneering in religious television and has achieved outstanding 
success in that media. Ministries of each of these pastors were signifi- 
cant and fruitful and will long be remembered. In Shreveport, Dykes 
helped to inspire and guide promising young assistant pastors working 
with him. Among these are Barry Bailey, now pastor in Fort Worth, where 
he is carrying on a television ministry based in part, at least, on experience 
he gained in his assistant's role under Dykes; J. Woodrow Hearn, now 
bishop in Nebraska; and Jim Moore, now pastor at St. Luke's Church, 


What do we see in prospect for Louisiana Methodists in the years 

First, there will always be Methodists. If further merger of denomina- 
tions occurs involving Methodists, they will carry the heritage and insights 
of John, Charles, and Susanna Wesley with them into any new structure. 

Obviously, the merger of Conferences A and B was a harbinger of 
a new day ahead in understanding and respect of blacks and whites 
toward each other. Methodists in Louisiana are in a good position to 
minister to more and more persons of both races, for it is the only large 
Protestant denomination carrying on such a ministry. 

Success in such a ministry may require renewed efforts to challenge 
young black women and men to prepare for and enter the ministry and 
perhaps helping with their schooling. 

As the church becomes more forthright in speaking out on public and 
social issues, Methodists will need to continue to be tolerant of each others 
opinions. An example of this tolerance can be seen in the 1985 conference 
when delegates differed in their attitude on providing sanctuary for 
political refugees from Central America. Difference of opinion is to be 
expected in any large group of committed Christians. 

If urbanization continues (and it seems likely that it will) more small 
rural churches will dwindle away. Town and city churches will need to 

352 Becoming One People 

learn how to meet the needs of these rural people who will be moving 
into town. 

Since the chief loss in Sunday school membership is among children 
and youth, they need especially to be included in the Bishop's plan for 
more Sunday school classes. Of course, more adults in Sunday school 
will likely mean more children and youth there also. 

Louisiana Methodists have proved that they can meet emerging needs 
and problems and can set suitable priorities, as was done for Korean and 
Spanish speaking ministries. This ability will stand them in good stead 
in coming years. 

When the South Central Jurisdictional Conference meets in New 
Orleans in 1988, Louisiana United Methodists will extend their genuine 
Christian hospitality and witness to their faith in God and his kingdom. 
They will also witness to their appreciation for the leadership of their "chief 
pastor/' Bishop Walter L. Underwood. The 1986 annual conference, 
through its committee on episcopacy, spoke for all Methodists in Loui- 
siana in saying: 

On behalf of the people of our state we express grateful appreciation 
to Bishop Underwood for the care and inspiration he has given to 
the churches and to the people of the state.... Many have been com- 
forted and strengthened through [his] pastoral care.... He has truly 
been a pastor to us. . . . [He] has met with pastors in each district, call- 
ing us to renewed commitment to the covenant nature of the ordained 
ministry.... He has been tireless in preaching and visiting churches, 
towns, and cities the breadth and length of the Conference. 

For his gracious ministry as chief pastor and for his effective 
leadership in the temporal and spiritual affairs of our church we are 
thankful.... Mrs. Billye Underwood's... warmth, her gracious man- 
ner, and her friendship have been a blessing. 61 

In his weekly column in The Louisiana United Methodist Bishop Llnder- 
wood has expressed some of his convictions about the ministry of the 

The Service of Investiture [on October 28,1984] was a celebration that 
made United Methodists of Louisiana visible to the whole world and 
reminded us of our commitment to the Kingdom of God. It also spoke 
a loud word about our pluralism, our inclusiveness, and our involve- 
ment in ecumenism... 

In the Louisiana Conference "our business is people" - God's peo- 
ple and also the Godless people. If we will truly love people enough 
to put them first a lot of questions about theology and worship and 
ethics and administration will be answered. 

United We Stand 353 

Remember to what and to whom you owe your loyalty. The 
minister asks only that you be loyal to Christ and to the church. If 
you do that then all other loyalties will fall into their proper place. 


Just as this book was going to press, Louisiana Methodists were 
stunned and saddened at the news of the death of their bishop, Walter 
L. Underwood, on April 15, 1987. 

He had given vigorous and thoughtful guidance in the three years 
he had been their leader. His influence and impact on Louisiana 
Methodism will long be remembered with heartfelt gratitude and 

W. N. V. 


Chapter I - Methodists Reach Louisiana, 1799 - 1826 

1. The Works of the Reverend John Wesley (New York: J. Emory and B. Waugh for The Methodist Episcopal 
Church, 1831), III: 39. 

2. Ibid., Ill: 33. 

3. Copy from the Court House in Greensburg, Louisiana, courtesy of Richard T. Colquette. 

4. Emory S. Bucke, ed. The History of American Methodism, (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1964), I: 238. 

5. Horace M. DuBose, Francis Asbury (Nashville: Publishing House of the M. E. Church, South, 1916), 

6. Francis Asbury, The Journal and Letters of Francis Asbury, eds. Elmer T. Clark et al. (Nashville: Ab- 
ingdon Press, 1966), I: 511. 

7. Asbury, Journal and Letters, III: 536. 

8. Jesse Lee, A Short History of the Methodists in the United States of America (Baltimore: Magill and Cline, 
1810), 309; W. L. Duren, The Trail of the Circuit Rider (New Orleans: Chalmers Printing House, 1936), 

9. Joe Gray Taylor, Louisiana, A Bicentennial History (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1976), 16. 

10. Holland N. McTyeire, A History of Methodism (Nashville, Tenn.: Publishing House of the M. E. 
Church, South, 1884), 555. 

11. John G. Jones, A Complete History of Methodism as Connected With the Mississippi Conference of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South (Nashville: Publishing House of the M. E. Church, South, 1887), 
I: 135-36. Hereinafter referred to as Mississippi Conference. 

12. Benjamin M. Drake, "Tobias Gibson," The Methodist Review, 1887, 240-41. 

13. Walter B. Posey, "The Advance of Methodism into the Lower Southwest," The Journal of Southern 
History, 1936, II: 440. 

14. Edwin Adams Davis, Louisiana, A Narrative History (Baton Rouge: Claitor's Publishing Division, 
1971), 78. 

15. Wesley, Works, III: 658. 

16. Roger Baudier, The Catholic Church in Louisiana (New Orleans: A. W. Hyatt, 1931), 217. 

17. Ibid., 218. 

18. Davis, Louisiana, 130-31. 

19. Ibid., 175. 

20. Jones, Mississippi Conference, I: 21,94. 

21. Bernard Bailyn et al., The Great Republic (Lexington, Mass.: D. C. Heath and Co., 1977), 370. 

22. James Alexander Robertson, ed., Louisiana Under the Rule of Spain, France, and the United States 
(Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1911), 266. 

23. Written by P. N. Walker, sent to the New Orleans Christian Advocate by the Rev. R. S. Tippett, and 

Eublished in the Advocate on January 22, 1874, 2. 
orenzo Dow, The Life, Travels, Labors, and Writings of Lorenzo Dow (New York: C. M. Saxton, 1859), 

25. Dow, "Preface," Life and Writings, 1,4. 

26. Jones, Mississippi Conference, I: 81, 120. 

27. Dow, Life and Writings, 152-57. 

28. Ibid., 334, 337, 315. 

29. Ibid., 311, 313, 330. 

30. Matthew Simpson, ed., Cyclopedia of Methodism, (Philadelphia: Louis H. Evarts, 1881), 309. 

31. Jones, Mississippi Conference, I: 125, 127-28, 133. 

32. Nolan B. Harmon, ed., Encyclopedia of World Methodism, (Nashville: United Methodist Publishing 
House, 1974), II: 1456; Robert Henry Harper, Louisiana Methodism (Washington, D.C.: Kaufmann 
Press, 1949), 3. 

33. Louisiana Gazette, April 30, May 28, 31, June 7, 11, 14, 1805; Georgia Fairbanks Taylor, "The Early 
History of the Episcopal Church in New Orleans, 1805-1840," The Louisiana Historical Quarterly, April, 
1939; Hodding Carter and Betty Werlein Carter, So Great a Good (Sewanee, Tenn.: The University 
Press, 1955), 6-7. John F. Watson was probably the Mr. Watson to whom Bowman referred in his 
letter to William Burke as "the gentleman to whom I was recommended by Mr. Asbury [and who] 
had left the city early in the fall and gone back to Philadelphia." Jones, Mississippi Conference, I, 148. 

34. Jones, Mississippi Conference, I: 148-49. 

35. Ibid., 151. 

36. Eden Methodist Church History, 1976. Duplicated Booklet. 

37. Jones, Mississippi Conference, I: 148-52; 175-77. 

38. Vera Lee Hedges, personal letters and data written to the author, August 15, 31, 1985. 

39. Jones, Mississippi Conference,!: 160-61; 175-76. 

40. Ibid., I: 174. Also see 149-51, 154-55. 

41. Copy of typewritten copy of Collins' statement from Centenary College Library. 

42. Mrs. W. M. Nolan, "Prairie Jefferson," a series of sixteen articles in the Bastrop Daily Enterprise, 
October 5 to February 27, 1953. See also Mildred Nixon Nolan, Oak Ridge Methodist Church 

43. Nola Mae McFillen, "Methodist Beginnings in Louisiana," Methodist History, April, 1967, 35-46; 
Horence Stewart McKain, Between the Rivers (Baton Rouge: Claitor's Publishing Division, 1971), 205. 

44. Jacob Young, Autobiography of a Pioneer (New York: Hunt and Eaton, 1857), 233-34. 


Notes 355 

45. Ibid., 220. 

46. Ray Holder, William Winans (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1977), 32-8. 

47. Robert Paine, Life and Times of William McK.end.ree (Nashville: Publishing House, M. E. Church, South, 
1869), 218-19. 

48. W. W. Drake, "A Sketch of Rev. Benjamin M. Drake, D.D.," Methodist Review, XLIV (1918), 17. 

49. John H. Carr, Early Times in Middle Tennessee (Nashville: E. Stevenson and F. A. Owen, 1857), 68; 
Ray Holder, Winans, 30. 

50. Holland N. McTyeire, A History of Methodism (Nashville, Tenn.: Publishing House of the M.E. 
Church, South, 1919), 556. 

51. Ibid., 558-59. 

52. Ray Holder, The Mississippi Methodists, 1799-1983 (Jackson: Maverick Prints, 1984), 12. 

53. Walter N. Vernon, William Stevenson, Riding Preacher (Dallas: S.M.U. Press, 1964), 53-54. 

54. Jones, Mississippi Conference, II: 109-112; McTyeire, Methodism, 613-616. 

55. D. W. Harris and B. M. Hulse, The History of Claiborne Parish, Louisiana (New Orleans: Press of 
W. B. Stansbury, 1866), 47-48. 

56. Philip C. Cook, "The North Louisiana Upland Frontier: the First Three Decades" in North Loui- 
siana, ed. B. H. Gilley (Ruston: McGinty Trust Fund Publications, 1984), I: 28-31, 38-39. 

57. Minutes of the Annual Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, for the years listed. 

58. Jones, Mississippi Conference, II: 218-20. 

59. Young, Autobiography, 218-19; 250; 222. 

60. William Warren Sweet, The Rise of Methodism in the West (Nashville: Smith and Lamar, 1920), passim. 

61. Jones, Mississippi Conference, II: 87. 

62. Sweet, Methodism in the West, 31. 

63. Ibid., 54. 

64. Ibid., 55. 

65. Autobiography of Peter Cartwright (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1956), 97. 

66. McTyeire, Methodism, 544-45. 

67. Asbury, Journal and Letters, II: 517. 

68. A. H. Redford, History of Methodism in Kentucky (Nashville: Methodist Publishing House, M.E. 
Church, South, 1870), II: 156-60. 

69. Fayette Circuit, Mississippi, report in John G. Jones, Introduction of Protestantism Into Mississippi 
and the Southwest (St. Louis: P. M. Pinckard, 1866), 111-14. 

70. Jones, Mississippi Conference, I: 285. 

71. John G. Jones, Protestantism into the Southwest, 193. 

72. Jones, Mississippi Conference, II: 142-45; 157-60. 

73. Ibid., 73-79. 

74. Ibid., 74-75. 

75. Ibid., 118-20. 

76. Ibid., 126-28. 

77. Ibid., 117. 

78. Wade Crawford Barclay, Early American Methodism (New York: Board of Missions and Church Ex- 
tension, 1949), I: 212, 258; The Methodist Magazine, 1824, 279. 

79. History of the First United Methodist Church, Franklin, La. 

80. John J. Tigert, A Constitutional History of American Episcopal Methodism (Nashville: Publishing House, 
M. E. Church, South, 1908), 554-56. 

81. Sweet, Methodism in the West, 101, 117, 151, 184. 

82. Young, Autobiography, 219, 250, 222. 

83. Robert Henry Harper, Louisiana Methodism (Washington, D.C.: Kaufmann Press, Inc., 1949), 16-17. 

84. Jones, Protestantism into the Southwest, 186-88. 

85. Jones, Mississippi Conference, II: 117-18. 

86. Holder, Winans, 105, 122. 

87. Jones, Mississippi Conference, II: 115. 

88. From The Edward Dromgoole Letters in William Warren Sweet, Religion on the American Frontier, 
1783-1840, Vol. W, The Methodists (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1946), 159. 

89. Abel Stevens, A Compendious History of American Methodism (New York: Carlton and Porter, 1867), 

90. Jones, Mississippi Conference, I: 312. 

91. Ibid., 368-69; 428-29. 

92. Quoted in The Methodist Hymnal, 1964, viii. 

93. Jones, Mississippi Conference, II: 29. 

94. Nolan B. Harmon, ed. Encyclopedia of World Methodism, (Nashville: United Methodist Publishing 
House, 1974), I: 914. 

95. McTyeire, Methodism, 546. 

96. Jones, Mississippi Conference, I: 270. 

97. Ibid., 270, 449; Harper, Louisiana Methodism, 12. 

98. McTyeire, History of Methodism, 561-62. 

99. Dow, Life and Writings, 245. 

100. History of First Methodist Church in New Orleans. 

101. The Methodist Magazine, (1820), III: 400. 

102. Ibid., (1821), W: 313. 

103. Ibid., (1826), IX: 109-111. 

104. Jones, Mississippi Conference, II: 148. 

105. Home Quarterly, January -March, 1944, 3-5, copyright 1943 by Whitmore and Stone, used by 

356 Becoming One People 

Chapter II - Putting Down Methodist Roots, 1827-1846 

1 Charles B. Galloway, Life of Bishop Linus Parker (Nashville: Publishing House of the M. E. Church, 
South, 1886), 44. 

2. Robert Alan Cross, Southern Methodism in New Orleans, (New Orleans: 1931), 15; Peyton S. Greaves 
The Methodist Magazine, 1827, 477. 

3. W. Scott Chinn, The Story of Mother Wesley of New Orleans (printed by Wesley Church, 1951), 4-5; 
History of First Street Methodist Church (1966). 

4. William Lee Hamrick, The Mississippi Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church (Jackson, Miss.: 
Hawkins Foundation, 1957), 33. 

5. John M. Moore, Life and I (Nashville: Parthenon Press, 1948), 146. 

6. Jones, Mississippi Conference, II: 63, 314. 

7. Ibid., 141-42. 

8. Walter N. Vernon, William Stevenson, Riding Preacher (Dallas: S.M.U. Press, 1964), 59. 

9. Joseph Travis, Autobiography of the Rev. Joseph Travis (Nashville: Stevenson and Owen, Agents, M. 
E. Church, South, 1856), 164. 

10. O. E. Kriege, A Century of Service (New Orleans: Chalmers Printing House, 1942), 14-19. 

11. Texas Christian Advocate, August 20, 1857. 

12. Macum Phelan, History of Methodism in Texas (Nashville: Cokesbury Press, 1924), I: 120-123. 

13. Ibid., 125. 

14. Walter N. Vernon, William Stevenson, Riding Preacher (Dallas: SMU Press, 1964), passim. 

15. Texas Methodist Historical Quarterly, I, No. 1, 32; New York Christian Advocate and Journal, July 6, 1838. 

16. Minutes of the Conference, quoted in Edwards Mayes, History of Education in Mississippi (1899), Chapter 
VIII; Louisiana Conference Journal, 1885, 23-24. 

17. William Hamilton Nelson, A Burning Torch, and a Flaming Fire (Nashville: Methodist Publishing 
House), 110. 

18. Ibid., 112. 

19. "Minutes of Trustees Meetings," in Magale Library, Centenary College. 

20. Jones, Mississippi Conference, II: 448; Ray Holder, William Winans (Jackson: Univ. of Miss. ,1977), 
138-41; letter of E.W.Sehon, Western Christian Advocate, Jan. 21, 1842. 

21. Some accounts state that Rev. C. K. Marshall gave this opening address, but a copy of the printed 
address of Dr. Dodd is in the Tennessee State Library, stating it was given on Nov. 9 because Dr. 
Thornton did not arrive in time to give his address. Dodd's address was printed by order of the 
Board of Trustees. 

22. Jones, Mississippi Conference, II: 455, 471, 493-95. 

23. Ibid., 510; Nelson, A Burning Torch, 115. 

24. Arthur Marvin Shaw, "Ante-Bellum Campus Life at Centenary College," The McNeese Review. 

25. B. M. Drake, A Sketch of the Life of Rev. Elijah Steele (Cincinnati: Methodist Book Concern, 1843), 
99, 101, 158, 193, 198-9. 

26. Ray Holder, Winans, 54, 162. 

27. Ibid., 73. 

28. Southern Methodist Review, September-October, 1897. Hamilton wrote the article long before publica- 
tion, for he died in 1874. 

29. T. L. Mellen, ed., Life and Labors of the Rev. William Hamilton Watkins, (Nashville: Methodist Publishing 
House, M. E. Church, South 1886), 287-91. 

30. The Methodist Protestant, Jan. 7, 1843. 

31. For further discussion about the slavery issues see Emory S. Bucke, ed., The History of American 
Methodism (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1964), II: 11-85; Frederick A. Norwood, The Story of American 
Methodism (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1974), 185-211; Robert T. Handy, A Christian America (New 
York: Oxford University Press, 1971), 60-72; Wade Crawford Barclay, History of Methodist Missions, 
II: To Reform a Nation (New York: Methodist Board of Missions, 1950), 52-111. 

32. John Wesley, Works (New York: J. Emory and E. Waugh, 1831), VI: 288. 

33. Jones, Mississippi Conference, II: 499-500. 

34. W. P. Harrison, The Gospel Among the Slaves (Nashville: Publishing House of M. E. Church, South, 
1893), 35. 

35. Ray Holder, William Winans, 112-123; William A.Poe, "A Look at Louisiana Colonization. . ." in 
Louisiana Studies, Vol. XI, No. 2, Summer, 1972. 

36. Jones, Mississippi Conference, II: 488. 

37. Joseph C. Hartzell, "Methodism and the Negro in the United States," Journal of Negro History, July, 
1923, 304. 

38. David C. Rankin, "The Tannenbaum Thesis Reconsidered," Louisiana Studies, Vol. XVffl, No.l, 
Spring, 1979. 

39. McDonald, Kemp, and Haas, eds., Louisiana's Black Heritage, (New Orleans: Louisiana State Museum, 
1979), 139. 

40. Ira Berlin, Slaves Without Masters (New York: Pantheon Books, 1974), 384. 

41. The Methodist Magazine, Vol. 10, 1827, 228-29. 

42. Jones, Mississippi Conference, II: 443. 

43. Norman W. Spellman, in The History of American Methodism, Emory S. Bucke, Abingdon Press, 
1964), II: 55. 

44. H. N. McTyeire, History of Methodism (Nashville: Publishing House of the M. E. Church, South, 
1884), 540 

45. Holder, William Winans, 156; Frederick D. Leete, Methodist Bishops (Nashville: Parthenon Press, 1948), 

46. Jones, Mississippi Conference, II: 543-45. 

Notes 357 

Chapter III - Organizing for Ministry, 1847 - 1861 

1. Bernard DeVoto, The Year of Decision: 1846 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1943), 3-15. 

2. Typed minutes of the Louisiana Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in Cline Room, 
Magale Library, Centenary College, Shreveport, Louisiana. 

3. Ibid., 5-6, 15, 23, 24. 

4. Jones, Mississippi Conference, II: 476. 

5. Raleigh O. Suarez, "Religion in Rural Louisiana, 1850-1860," Louisiana Historical Quarterly, 38, no. 1 
(1955): 55-63. 

6. William A. Poe, "A Look at Louisiana Colonization in its African Setting," Louisiana Studies, 11, 
no. 2 (1972): 118. 

7. Jones, Mississippi Conference, II: 320, 349. 

8. Louisiana Conference Journal, M. E. Church, South, 1853-1857. 

9. Ibid., 1858, 38-9. 

10. Ibid., 1959, 130 and 1961, 117. 

11. Nell Pickens, Margie Mouton, Nan Keever, Shoulders of Giants (Sulphur: Henning United Methodist 
Church, 1978), 8. 

12. Ibid., 9. 

13. John Pipes, "Reminiscences of Caddo," New Orleans Christian Advocate, September 28, 1882. 

14. Charles F. Deems, Annals of Southern Methodism for 1855 (New York: A. Grays Fire-Proof Printing 
Office, 1856), 373. 

15. New Orleans Christian Advocate, May 12, 1855. 

16. Deems, Annals, 1855, 367-70. 

17. New Orleans Christian Advocate, September 28, 1882. 

18. Deems, Annals, 1855, 372-73. 

19. Minutes, The Methodist Episcopal Church, 1785; John J. Tigert, A Constitutional History of American 
Episcopal Methodism (Nashville: Publishing House of the M.E. Church, South, 1908), 546. 

20. New Orleans Christian Advocate, May 1, 1852. 

21. Ibid., May 8, 1852. 

22. Ibid., June 6, 1860. 

23. Ibid., December 30, 1886. 

24. Mary Jane Peace, "The Establishment of the Elijah Steele Chapel" (Paper from a history class at 
Centenary College, Magale Library, 1975). 

25. Deems, Annals, 1855, 374. 

26. C. A. Bowen, Child and Church (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1960), 49. 

27. Ibid., 107-08. 

28. Journal of the Educational Institute (Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1858), 53. 

29. DeSoto Plume Book, II: 139-41. Provided by Wilbur Helen Lewis. 

30. From an address delivered by Dr. Walter Lowrey of Centenary College at a reunion of Mansfield 
Female College alumnae in April, 1974. 

31. Louisiana Conference Journal (M. E. Church, South, 1933), 36. 

32. Harper, Louisiana Methodism, 159-60. 

33. Journal of the Educational Institute (M. E. Church, South, 1858), 53. 

34. Charles B. Galloway, Life of Bishop Linus Parker (Nashville: Publishing House of M. E. Church, South; 
1886), 52-53. 

35. Catherine Clinton, The Plantation Mistress, Woman's World in the Old South (New York: Pantheon 
Books, 1982), 161-62. 

36. Carmen Meriwether Lindig, "The Woman's Movement in Louisiana: 1879-1920" (Ph.D. diss., North 
Texas State University, 1982), 32. 

37. Deems, Annals, 1855, 279-80. 

38. J. C. Keener, "History of the Advocate," New Orleans Christian Advocate, February 8, 1883. 

39. Ibid. 

40. John J. Tigert, Bishop Holland Nimmons McTyeire (Nashville: Vanderbilt University press, 1955), 110. 

41. Robert Alan Cross, The History of Southern Methodism in New Orleans (New Orleans: 1931), 56-64; 
O. E. Kriege, Hubert A. Gibbs, and Others, A Century of Service (New Orleans: Chalmers Printing 
House, 1942), 13-20. 

42. New Orleans Christian Advocate, February 8, 1851. 

43. Deems, Annals, 1856 (Nashville: M. E. Church, South, 1857), 102. 

44. E. J. Drinkhouse, History of Methodist Reform and Methodist Protestant Church (Baltimore: Board of 
Publication, Methodist Protestant Church, 1899), II: 395. 

45. Jones, Mississippi Conference, II: 199. 

46. The Methodist Protestant, March 29, 1856. 

47. Data from Don L. Hardin, Dallas, Texas in a personal letter to the author, February 8, 1986. 

48. Deems, Annals, 1855, 214. 

49. New Orleans Christian Advocate, April 2, 1853. 

50. Deems, Annals, 1855, 361. 

51. Ibid., 221. 

52. George G. Smith, The Life and Times of George Foster Pierce (Sparta, Ga.: Hancock Publishing Co., 
1888), 365-66. 

53. Galloway, Linus Parker, 67-8. 

54. John B. McFerrin and others, History of the Organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 
(Nashville: Publishing House, M. E. Church, South, 1925), 127-30. 

55. Charles Elliott, Southwestern Methodism, A History of the M. E. Church in the Southwest (Cincinnati: 
Poe and Hitchcock, 1868), 24. 

56. James P. Pilkington, The Methodist Publishing House, A History (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1968), 

57. Elliott, Southwestern Methodism, 115. 

358 Becoming One People 

58. New Orleans Christian Advocate, November 20, 1852. 

59. Louisiana Conference Journal, December, 1853, 6-9. 

60. New Orleans Christian Advocate, July 10, 1850. 

61. W. P. Harrison, The Gospel Among the Slaves (Nashville, Term. : Publishing House of the M. E. Church, 
South, 1893), 370-71. 

62. Kenneth K. Bailey, "Protestantism and Afro-Americans in the Old South," The Journal of Southern 
History, XLI, no. 4, (November 1975): 454. 

63. New Orleans Christian Advocate, March 1, 1851. 

64. Joseph C. Hartzell, "Methodism and the Negro in the United States," Journal of Negro History, (July, 
1923): 303. 

65. Eugene D. Genovese, "Black Plantation Preachers in the Slave South," Louisiana Studies, XI, No. 
3 (Fall 1972): 197-200. 

66. Kenneth M. Stampp, The Peculiar Institution, Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South (New York: Vantage 
Books, 1956), 372-73. 

67. Thomas Leonard Williams, "The Methodist Mission to the Slaves," (Ph.D. diss., Yale University, 
1943), 244-45. 

68. W. Scott Chinn, Wesley Methodist Church (New Orleans: 1951), 9. 

69. Ray Holder, The Mississippi Methodists, 62. 

70. Ibid., 63. 

71. T. L. Mellen, ed., Life and Labors of the Rev. William Hamilton Watkins, (Nashville: Methodist Publishing 
House, M. E. Church, South, 1886), 50. 

72. Roger Baudier, The Catholic Church in Louisiana (New Orleans: Louisiana Library Association, 1939), 

73. Elliott, Southwestern Methodism, 144. 

Chapter IV - Civil War, Reconstruction, and Methodists, 1862-1876 

1. Louisiana Conference Minutes, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1862, Magale Library, Centenary 
College, Shreveport, Louisiana. 

2. Charles W. Ramsdell, "The Changing Interpretation of the Civil War," The Pursuit of Southern History, 
ed. George Brown Tindall (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1964), 33-34. 

3. Frank M. Owsley, "The Fundamental Cause of the Civil War," Ibid., 77-89. 

4. Ramsdell, "The Changing Interpretation," 23-41. 

5. John D. Winters, The Civil War in Louisiana (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963), xi. 

6. Quoted from Robert R. McDonald, et al, in Louisiana's Black Heritage (New Orleans: Louisiana State 
Museum, 1979), 88. 

7. Harper, Louisiana Methodism, 90. 

8. Thomas M. Finney, The Life and Labors of Enoch Mather Marvin (St. Louis: James H. Chambers, 1880), 

9. Ibid. 

10. Willard E. Wright, "Pay the Preacher! Two Letters from Louisiana, 1864," Louisiana History (1960), 
I: 253. 

11. Sister Dorothea Olga McCants, ed., They Came to Louisiana, Letters of a Catholic Mission (Baton Rouge: 
Louisiana State University Press, 1970), 134-35. 

12. H. A. Graves, Andrew Jackson Potter, The Noted Parson of the Texas Frontier (Nashville: Methodist 
Publishing House, M.E Church, South, 1890), 157. 

13. Letter of June 10, 1964, to Walter N. Vernon from Mrs. Sadie Vaughn Goldsmith Allen of Dallas. 

14. John Hope Franklin, From Slavery to Freedom (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1947), 300. 

15. Winters, Civil War in Louisiana, 30; Edward T. James, ed, Notable American Women, 1607-1950 A 
Biographical Dictionary (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971), 530-31. 

16. Robert Henry Harper, Louisiana Methodism (Washington, D.C.: Kaufmann Press, 1949), 153; New 
Orleans Christian Advocate, March 24, 1866. 

17. Roger Baudier, The Catholic Church in Louisiana (New Orleans: Reprinted by Louisiana Library 
Association, Public Library Section, 1972), 456. 

18. John J. Tigert, Bishop Holland Nimmons McTyeire (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1955), 131. 

19. Gilbert Highet, History of First United Methodist Church, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

20. Cross, History of Southern Methodism in New Orleans, 34. 

21. James W. May, 'The War Years," The History of American Methodism, Emory S. Bucke ed. (Nashville: 
Abingdon Press, 1964), II: 250. 

22. Cross, Southern Methodism in New Orleans, 34. 

23. Gilbert Academy and Agricultural College (New York: Hunt and Eaton, 1893), 49. 

24. Walter W. Benjamin, "The Era of Reconstruction: The Freedman's Aid Society," The History of 
American Methodism, Emory S. Bucke ed., II: 369. 

25. Ibid., 379. 

26. Jefferson Davis Bragg, Louisiana in the Confederacy (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 
1941), 127-28. 

27. Roger Baudier, The Catholic Church in Louisiana, 427. 

28. Louisiana Conference Minutes, M.E.Church, South, 1864. 

29. James McPherson, Ordeal by Fire, The Civil War and Reconstruction (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 
1982), 544. 

30. Ibid., 592. 

31. Avery Craven, Reconstruction, the Ending of the Civil War (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 
Inc., 1968), 305. 

32. Edward J. Drinkhouse, History of the Methodist Protestant Church (Baltimore and Pittsburgh: Board 
of Publication, 1899), II: 459, 468-69, 488-89. 

33. Journal, Louisiana M. E. South Conference, 1860, 1864, 1868, 1870. 

Notes 359 

34. Holland N. McTyeire, A History of Methodism (Nashville, Tenn.: Publishing House of the M. E. 
Church, South, 1884), 666. 

35. Minutes of the Mississippi Mission Conference, 1865, 5-6; W. Scott Chinn, Wesley Methodist Church, 
1951, 12. 

36. History of St. James United Methodist Church, Shreveport, 1984, 1. 

37. Charles Vincent, Black Legislators in Louisiana During Reconstruction (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State 
University, 1976), 144. 

38. Ibid., passim. 

39. Ibid., 217. 

40. Jay S. Stowell, Methodist Adventures in Negro Education (New York: Methodist Book Concern, 1922), 

41. Gilbert Academy and Agricultural College (New York: Hunt and Easton, 1893), passim. 

42. Minutes of the Louisiana Conference, M. E. Church, 1876, 20. 

43. Ibid., 22. 

44. Walter W. Benjamin, "The Era of Reconstruction," 378-79. 

45. Journal of the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1866 (Nashville: Published 
by A. H. Redford, 1866), 39, 58-59, 65-66, 73. 

46. John Matthews, Peeps Into Life (Nashville: Tennessee Conference of the M.E. Church, South, 1904), 

47. Dumas Malone, ed., Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1933), 555. 

48. Nolan B. Harmon, Jr., The Famous Case ofMyra Clark Gaines (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univer- 
sity Press, 1946), passim. 

49. Joe Gray Taylor, Louisiana, A History (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1976) 97-99. 

50. Edward T. James, ed., Notable American Women, 1607-1950; A Biographical Dictionary (Cambridge, 
Mass: Harvard University Press, 1971), I: 264-65. 

51. Ibid., II: 530-31. 

52. New Orleans Christian Advocate, December 25, 1873. 

53. Notable American Women, II: 8-9. 

54. Encyclopedia of World Methodism II: 1536; 1687-88; I: 416. 

55. Annals of Southern Methodism, 1856, 149; Texas Christian Advocate, March 2, 1858. 

56. New Orleans Christian Advocate, October 17, 1868. 

57. Minutes, Louisiana Conference, M.E.Church, South, January, 1870. 

58. Bishop Lucius Holsey, Autobiography, Address, and Essays (Jackson, Tenn: Publishing House, C. M. 
E. Church, 1908), 247. 

59. Othal H. Lakey, The History of the C.M.E. Church (Memphis: The CME Publishing House, 1985), 

60. Ibid., 238. 

61. Florence Stewart McKoin, Between the Rivers (Baton Rouge: Claitor's Publishing Division, 1971), 209. 

62. New Orleans Christian Advocate, March 23, 1867. 

63. O. E. Kriege, A Century of Service (New Orleans: Chalmers Printing House, 1942), 22-30. 

64. John Matthews, Peeps Into Life, 100. 

65. Horace M. DuBose, A History of Methodism (Nashville: Publishing House of the M. E. Church, South, 
1916), 430. 

66. The Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (Nashville: Publishing House 
of the M. E. Church, South, 1870), 77-78. 

67. Ibid., 95. 

68. New Orleans Christian Advocate, December 19, 1872. 

69. Letter to Bishop Noah W. Moore from Rev. CO. Greene, May 29, 1967; Letter to Pastors from 
Bishop Aubrey G. Walton in 1971. 

70. New Orleans Christian Advocate, September 25, 1873. 

71. History of Methodism in Delhi. 

72. John Matthews, Peeps Into Life, 101; Cross, History of Southern Methodism in New Orleans, 17-18, 22-23. 

73. Harold Sinclair, The Port of New Orleans (New York: Doubleday, Doran, and Co., 1942), 181. 

74. John M. Moore, The Long Road to Methodist Union (Nashville: Methodist Publishing House, 1943), 

75. Ibid., 66. 

Chapter V - Renewed Efforts Following the War, 1877 - 1899 

1. John M. Moore, The Long Road to Methodist Union (Nashville: Methodist Publishing House, 1943), 57. 

2. Ibid., 66. 

3. Elam F. Dempsey, Atticus Greene Haygood (Nashville: Parthenon Press, 1940), 355. 

4. Typescript by his eldest son, presumably J. Culver Hartzell. Library, United Methodist Publishing 
House, Nashville, Tenn. 

5. Frederick D. Leete, Methodist Bishops (Nashville: Parthenon Press 1948), 265. 

6. Ibid., 267. 

7. Minutes, Louisiana Conference, M. E. Church, South, Jan., 1884, 44. 

8. Personal letter to Walter N. Vernon, January 13, 1986. 

9. Letter to Walter M. Lowrey, June 28, 1972, in the Conference Archives Inventories, Cline Room, 
Magale Library, Centenary College, Shreveport, La. 

10. Minutes, the Louisiana Conference, M. E. Church, South, Dec. 1879. 

11. Minutes, the Louisiana Conference, M. E. Church, South, January 1888, 21. 

12. Practically all the data about actions of the Louisiana M. E. Conference are taken from the con- 
ference journals. 

13. Regulators were a loosely-organized group of men who undertook to regulate the behavior of others, 
in this case any blacks to whose behavior they objected. 

360 Becoming One People 

14. Roll book of Franklin Street Church, New Orleans, from the Genealogical Society of Utah; and 
data supplied by Mrs. Gladys Moerner Fitts, Nashville, Tennessee. 

15. T. J. Ratliff and Margaret W. Martin, History of De Quincy United Methodist Church. Duplicated by 
the church, 1984, 10. 

16. Journal of the Gulf Mission Conference, M. E. Church, 1901, 5, 22-23. 

17. The Methodist Protestant, Dec. 9, 1882. 

18. Minutes, Louisiana Conference, Methodist Protestant Church, 1901. 

19. History of the Westlake United Methodist Church, 2. 

20. Typescript, History of Union Methodist. Passim. 

21. Richard H. Wilmer, The Recent Past, From a Southern Standpoint (New York: Thomas Whitaker, 1887), 

22. John Matthews, Peeps Into Life (Nashville: Tennessee Conference, 1904). 

23. Gerald O. McCulloh, "The Changing Theological Emphases," The History of American Methodism, 
Emory S. Bucke, ed., (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1964), II: 606. 

24. Walt Holcomb, Sam Jones (Nashville: The Methodist Publishing House, 1947), 5-36. 

25. Thomas Cargill Warner, One Hundred Years of Christian Service, 1842-1942, Centenary Methodist Church, 
Franklinton, Louisiana. 

26. R. S. Foster, Union of Episcopal Methodisms (New York: Hunt and Eaton, 1892), 39. 

27. Ibid., see Chapter IV. 

28. New Orleans Christian Advocate, Feb. 23, 1882. 

29. George W. Cable, The Negro Question (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1958), 15. 

30. Journal of the Louisiana Conference, M. E. Church, South, 1884, 18 

31. Ibid., 1889, 14. 

32. Data secured from the Library at Dillard University, New Orleans, and Centenary College, 

33. Undated letter to Rev. W. T. Handy, Sr., from Caesar Small, (after 1932). 

34. Kenneth McLaurin Fisher, History of Haven United Methodist Church, 1883 - 1976. 

35. Wade Crawford Barclay, History of Methodist Missions, 1845-1939, III: 296-97; Paul Douglass, "Bil- 
ingual Work and the Language Conferences," The History of American Methodism, Emory S. Bucke, 
ecL, II: 515; Robert A. Cross, History of Southern Methodism in New Orleans (New Orleans: 1931), 48. 

36. See the index of any recent issue of the General Minutes, The United Methodist Church. 

37. Oscar Handlin, The History of the United States (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1968), II: 172. 

38. Edwin Adams Davis, Louisiana, A Narrative History (Baton Rouge: Claitor's Publishing Division, 
1971), 317. 

39. Willaim Henry Nelson, A Burning Bush and a Flaming Fire (Shreveport: Centenary College, 1931), 
Chapters 14-17, passim. 

40. Centenary College of Louisiana Sesquicentennial, 1825-1975, 11. 

41. Nelson, A Burning Bush, Chapters 16-17, passim. 

42. Typescript of history of Mansfield Female College; copy made available by Elizabeth Lowrey, 
Mansfield, La. 

43. Harper, Louisiana Methodism, 155. 

44. Seventy Years of Service, New Orleans University, Published by the Faculty, 1935, 15 

45. Jay S. Stowell, Methodist Adventures in Negro Education (New York: Methodist Book Concern, 1922), 

46. Report of the Missionary Society, M. E. Church, New York, 1902, 23. 

47. Minutes of the Louisiana Annual Conference, M. E. Church, South, Dec. 3-7, 1890, 30. 

48. Minutes, Louisiana Conference, M. E. Church, South, 1888. 

49. Nolan B. Harmon, ed., Encyclopedia of World Methodism (Nashville: United Methodist Publishing 
House, 1974), I: 1318. 

50. Caroline E. Merrick, Old Times in Dixie Land (New York: The Grafton Press, 1901), 143. 

51. "Order or Ardor? A Typology of Women in Methodism;" paper by Rev. Deborah Drash, Baton 
Rouge, Louisiana. 

52. Printed account (no source given) in files of Library, United Methodist Publishing House, Nashville, 
Tenn., and Louisiana Conference United Methodist Women, IX, No. 1. 

53. Typescript of Diamond Jubilee Program of Louisiana Conference Woman's Society of Christian 
Service in New Orleans, on March 25, 1954. 

54. Woman's Foreign Missionary Society (M. E. Church, South, 1884-1894 and 1896), 4, 8-10. 

55. Southwestern Christian Advocate, June 21, 1894. 

56. Thomas Cargill Warner, One Hundred Years of Christian Service, Centenary Methodist Church, Franklinton, 
La., 31-32. 

57. New Orleans Christian Advocate, February 8, 1883. 

58. Ralph W. Morrow in The History of American Methodism, Emory S. Bucke, ed., II: 590-91. 

Chapter VI - Entering a New Century, 1900-1920 

1. New Orleans Christian Advocate, Jan. 13, 1901. 

2. Louisiana Conference Annual, M. E. Church, South, 1904, 29-30. 

3. New Orleans Christian Advocate, Feb. 16, March 2, May 4, May 18, June 22, July 6, 1905. 

4. R. H. Harper, Louisiana Methodism, 110-111. 

5. John M. Moore, The Long Road to Methodist Union (Nashville: Methodist Publishing House, 1943), 

6. Frederick E. Maser, "The Story of Unification, 1874, 1939," The History of American Methodism, Emory 
S. Bucke, ed. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1964, III: 430. 

7. Ibid., 129. 

8. Louisiana Conference Annual, M. E. Church, South, 1916, 31-32. 

9. Journal of the Gulf Annual Conference, M. E. Church, 1918, 21. 

Notes 361 

10. Louisiana Conference Annual, M. E. Church, South, 1917, 42. 

11. Journal of the Louisiana Conference, United Brethren Church, 1911, 9-12. 

12. Ibid., 1911, 11. 

13. Gulf Mission Conference, M. E. Church Journal, 1912, 43. 

14. Ibid., 1908, 54. 

15. Othal H. Lakey, The History of the C. M. E. Church (Memphis: The C. M. E. Publishing House, 
1985), 445. 

16. Minutes, Louisiana Conference, Methodist Protestant Church, 1910, 4. 

17. The Methodist Protestant, Dec. 5, 1900; Jan. 10, 1900. 

18. Robert W. Sledge, Hands on the Ark (Lake Junaluska, N.C.: Commission on Archives and History, 
United Methodist Church, 1975), 75. 

19. Clyde W. Lord, "The Mineral Springs Holiness Camp Meetings," Louisiana History, XVI: 260-61. 

20. Louisiana Conference Archives, Cline Room, Magale Library, Centenary College, Shreveport, La. 

21. Data from Mrs. W. M. Nolan of Oak Ridge. 

22. Cullen T. Carter, History of the Tennessee Conference (Nashville; the author; 1948), 330. 

23. Louisiana Conference Annual, M. E. Church, South, 1903, 37. 

24. Ibid., 1913, 27. 

25. Virginia Shadron, "The Laity Rights Movement, 1906-1918," Women in New Worlds (Nashville: Ab- 
ingdon Press, 1981), I: 268. 

26. R. H. Harper, Louisiana Methodism, 111. 

27. Ibid. 

28. Nolan B. Harmon, ed., The Encyclopedia of World Methodism (Nashville: United Methodist Publishing 
House, 1974), II: 1318. 

29. Sledge, Hands on the Ark, 29. 

30. Louisiana Conference Archives, Cline Room, Magale Library, Centenary College, Shreveport. 

31. Louisiana Conference Annual, M. E. Church, South, 1906, 20. 

32. Arthur M. Shaw, Shorten the Line (Nashville: Publishing House, M. E. Church, South), 59. 

33. Gulf Conference Journal, 1908, 49-50. 

34. Data in this section taken from Seventy Years of Service, published by the Faculty of New Orleans 
University, 1935. 

35. Louisiana Conference Annual, M. E. Church, South, 1901, 43-44. 

36. Ibid., 1913, 10-11. 

37. Ibid., 1910, 13-16; 1919, 15. 

38. Ibid., 1909 to 1915, see reports of Board of Education. 

39. Robert A. Cross, The History of Southern Methodism in New Orleans (New Orleans: Privately printed, 
1931), 51-2; Louisiana Conference Annual, M. E. Church, South, 1921, 39. 

40. William F. McDermott, "West South Central States," The World Service of the M. E. Church (Chicago 
M. E. Boards of Benevolences, 1923), passim; Ruth Esther Meeker, Six Decades of Service (New York 
Woman's Home Missionary Society, 1969), 224-26; O. E. Kriege, A Century of Service (New Orleans 
Napoleon Avenue Church, 1942). 

41. Kriege, A Century of Service, 23; Louisiana Conference Annual, 1906, 50-51. 

42. The Missionary Voice (Nashville, Tenn: Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Board of Missions), 
August, 1911, 23. 

43. Letter to the author from Mr. Hebert's daughter, Mrs. lone Hebert Carlin (Mrs. James A. Carlin), 
January 21, 1985; R. H. Harper, In the Land of New Acadia (Board of Missions, M. E. Church, South, 
1930), 23-29. 

44. The Missionary Voice, April, 1911, 46-47. 

45. Ibid., February, 1911, 49. 

46. Ibid., December, 1912, 73. 

47. These names are found chiefly in the Woman's Missionary Society of the M. E. Church, South 
conference reports to their own conference meetings and to the annual conference. Special help 
was given on this aspect of this history by Norma (Mrs. Jack) Winegeart, in addition to overseeing 
the whole project. 

48. Fannie Rayne Russ and Georgie Russ Ross, One Hundred Years of Rayne Memorial (New Orleans: 
Rayne Memorial Church, 1975), 29-31. 

49. These particular churches were selected because of availability of their histories and because they 
represent a spread of different types of churches across the conference. There are others that could 
equally well nave been selected. 

50. Encyclopedia of World Methodism, II, 2127. 

51. Ibid., II, 2012. 

52. Edward T. Janes, ed., Notable American Women, 1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary (Cambridge, 
Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971), 9. 

53. Archie P. McDonald, "John Brewer, Pharmacist and the Social and Economic Life in Hammond 
in the 1890's" in Louisiana Studies, Summer, 1971, 77-84. 

54. Paul Douglass, "Bilingual Work and the Language Conferences," The History of American Methodism, 
II: 475. 

55. Louisiana Conference Journal, M. E. Church, South, 1902, 75-77. 

56. letter to the author from lone Hebert Carlin (Mrs. James A.), Houston, Texas, May 23, 1983. 

57. W. W. Pinson, Walter Russell Lambuth (Nashville: Cokesbury Press, 1923), Nashville: Cokesbury 
Press, 1923), 152-53. 

58. New Orleans Christian Advocate, March 8, 1917. 

59. William Talbot Handy, Sr., Up From Gallatin, An Autobiography. Privately printed. 

60. Robert Elijah Jones Papers at Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, La. 

61. James P. Brawley, Matthew Simpson Davage: Elder Statesman and Revered Sage (Nashville: Methodist 
Board of Education, 1972), 2-5. 

62. Notable American Women, 533-35; Doris Dorcas Carter, Louisiana's Black Heritage (New Orleans: Loui- 
siana State Museum, 1979), 181-82. 

362 Becoming One People 

63. Notable American Women, 614-15. 

64. Louisiana Conference Journal, 1913, 22; W. W. Pinson, Walter Russell Lambuth (Nashville: Cokesbury 
Press, 1924), 149. 

65. Louisiana Conference Journal, 1918, 23. 

Chapter VII - Bringing Methodists Back Together, 1921-1941 

1. Joe Gray Taylor, Louisiana (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1976), 155-59. 

2. Edward J. Kammer, A Socio-Economic Survey of the Marshdwellers of Four Southeastern Louisiana Parishes 
(Washington, D. C: The Catholic University of America Press, 1941), 48. 

3. Ibid., 52. 

4. Steven D. Zink, Louisiana Studies, 1978, 185. 

5. Annual of the Louisiana M. E., South Conference, 1931, 83. 

6. Journal of the Southern Annual Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, 1934, 268-69. 

7. Annual of the Louisiana M. E., South Conference, 1921, 7, 45, 29. 

8. Ibid., 1924, 64-65. 

9. "Brief Sketch of the Southern Conference," Annual of the Louisiana M. E., South, Conference, 1939, 

10. Gulf Annual Conference Journal, December, 1926, 154. 

11. William T. Noll, "Laity Rights and Leadership," Women in New Worlds, Hilah E. Thomas and 
Rosemary Skinner Keller, eds. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1981), I: 229. 

12. Mrs. G. W. Charlton,j4 Century of Commitment: Go Ye Therefore (United Methodist Women, Loui- 
siana Conference, United Methodist Church), 13. 

13. Methodist Episcopal data taken from Ruth Esther Meeker, Six Decades of Service (New York: M. 
E. Woman's Home Missionary Society, 1969), 143-226, passim. 

14. Nolan B. Harmon, ed., The Encyclopedia of World Methodism (Nashville: Methodist Publishing House, 
1974), II: 1367. 

15. Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1922, Par. 220. 

16. Ibid., Par. 538-547. 

17. Annual of the M. E., South, Louisiana Conference, 1937, 57-59; 1938, 66-68. 

18. Joe Gray Taylor, Louisiana, A History (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1976), 165. 

19. Annual of the Louisiana M. E. South, Conference, 1939, 94. 

20. Grambling Papers, Cline Room, Magale Library, Centenary College, Shreveport, La., passim. 

21. New Orleans Christian Advocate, December 10 and 17, 1922; March 6, 1924; Conference journals of 
the time, passim. 

22. Journal of the Louisiana Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, 1930, 77. 

23. Arthur Madison Shaw, Shorten the Line (Nashville: Publishing House of the M. E. Church, South, 
1922), 28-29, 42, 105. 

24. Mary M. Thomas, Southern Methodist University, (Dallas: S. M. U. Press, 1974), 94. 

25. Harmon, ed., Encyclopedia of World Methodism, II: 2012. 

26. Letter to the author, August 11, 1986. 

27. Official Journal of the Southern Annual Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, 1929, 218. 

28. Journal of the Methodist Protestant Louisiana Conference, 1932, 12. 

29. John M. Moore, Life and I (Nashville: Parthenon Press, 1948) 149-51. 

30. Southern Methodist Yearbook (Publishing House, M. E. Church, South), 1928, passim. 

31. Harmon, ed., The Encyclopedia of World Methodism, I: 684. 

32. Seventy Years of Service, New Orleans University, Published by the Faculty, 1935, 34-37. 

33. Negro Colleges and Schools Related to The Methodist Church, A Survey Report by Division of Surveys, 
Peabody College for Teachers, Nashville, Tenn., 1943, 188. 

34. Journal of the Louisiana Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, 1939, 1940. 

35. Seventy Years of Service, New Orleans University, Published by the Faculty, 1935, passim. 

36. Letter of January 27, 1924 from Alexander L. Bondurant to Dean R. E. Smith, in file of the late 
Walter Lowrey. 

37. Annual of the Louisiana Conference, South Central Jurisdiction, The Methodist Church, 1942, 34. 

38. Paul Brown, The Paul Brown Years at Centenary, Walter Lowrey, ed. (Shreveport: A Centenary Col- 
lege Publication, 1981), passim. 

39. Pictorial Survey of Centenary College History (Alumni Association, 1975), 15. 

40. Louise Hewitt, The Shreveport Times, June 17, 1956; De Soto Plume, 1980. 

41. Paper read by Mary Kay Trippe at Alumni Meeting, June 6, 1984, 7. 

42. Ibid., 8. 

43. Annual of the Louisiana M. £., South Conference, 1920, 30. 

44. Ibid., 1934, 36-39; 1935, 58-60. 

45. Ibid., 1935, 57. 

46. Ibid., 1939, 80-84. 

47. Ibid., 1923, 48. 

48. Ibid., 1933, 80. 

49. Isaiah B. Scott and Alexander B. Shaw were elected as Missionary bishops, to serve only on the 
mission fields. 

50. Annual of the Louisiana M. E., South Conference, 1924, 68. 

51. Journal of the Louisiana Conference, South Central Jurisdiction, The Methodist Church, 1966, 229. 

52. Harmon, ed., Encyclopedia of World Methodism, I: 310. 

53. Annual of the Louisiana Conference, The Methodist Church, South Central Jurisdiction, 1941, 87. 

54. Annual of the Louisiana M. E., South Conference, 1934, 80-83. 

55. Ibid., 1934, 87. 

56. The Daily Christian Advocate, M. E. Church, General Conference, May 5, 1936, 88. 

Notes 363 

57. Annual of the Louisiana M. E., South Conference, 1938, 4. 

58. Moore, The Long Road to Methodist Union, 217. 

59. Doctrine and Discipline of The Methodist Church, 1939 (New York: The Methodist Publishing House, 
1939), Par. 26. 

60. Journal of the Louisiana Conference, The Methodist Church, South Central Jurisdiction, 1939, 41. 

61. Statement or written reports during the 1939 Uniting Conference creating the Louisiana Conference 
of The Methodist Church in the South Central Jurisdiction, 1939, passim. 

62. H. W. Rickey, Journal, Louisiana Conference, The Methodist Church, 1939, 66, 97, 53. 

63. Journal of the General Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, 1936, 764-67. 

Chapter VIII - 'The Best of Times, The Worst of Times", 1942-1965 

1: Data in this section taken from the South Central Jurisdiction's Journals and files of the Daily Chris- 
tian Advocate. 

2. Daily Advocate, South Central Jurisdiction, June 22, 1960, 5. 

3. The Louisiana Methodist, July 21, 1960, 2. 

4. Ibid., June 30, 1960, 13. 

5. Letter to the author from Judge John A. Dixon, September 23, 1986. 

6. Harmon, ed., Encyclopedia of World Methodism, (Nashville: The Methodist Publishing House, 1974) 
I: 1301. 

7. Ibid., I: 1294. 

8. Statement by Albert Lanier in 1976 on his memories of life at First Methodist Church, Alexandria, 

9. Louisiana Conference Annual, South Central Jurisdiction, 1951, 120. 

10. Ibid., 1954, 103-04. 

11. Murry H. Leiffer, "Outreach in a Changing World," The History of American Methodism, Emory 
Stevens Bucke, ed. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1964), III: 556. 

12. Copies of letters in the files of Walter N. Vernon. 

13. Louisiana Conference Annual, South Central Jurisdiction, 1962, 74. 

14. Louisiana Conference Journal, Central Jurisdiction, 1951. 

15. Civil District Court, New Orleans, Original Brief of Plaintiffs- Appellees, No. 19,600, 11; Willaim 
Talbot Handy, Sr., Up From Gallatin, An Autobiography, published privately, 26-27. 

16. Louisiana Conference Journal, Central Jurisdiction, 1964, 46. 

17. To A Higher Glory, a History of the Central Jurisdiction Women's Organization, Women's Division, 
Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church, passim. 

18. Central Christian Advocate, May 15, 1954. 

19. Annual Report/Directory, Women's Society, South Central Jurisdiction, 1940-1986, passim. 

20. The Louisiana Methodist, April 8, 1954, 11. 

21. Ibid., 3. 

22. Biographical Release on Mrs. Glenn E. Laskey, 1986. 

23. Letter to the author, November 24, 1986. 

24. Bentley Sloane, The Dean Smith Years, The Four Square Bible Class Shreveport, La.: 1978. 

25. Ibid., 18. 

26. Data supplied by Dr. Alton O. Hancock. 

27. Data on Cotton, Holland, O'Neal, and Mouser from Who's Who in The Methodist Church (Nashville: 
Abingdon Press, 1966), A. N. Marquis, ed., passim. 

28. Prince A. Taylor, The Life of My Years (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1983), 73. 

29. Ibid., 75. 

30. Courtbouillon (student paper at Dillard), February, 1948, 5; Central Christian Advocate, March 10, 1949, 
9; August 1, 1954, 15. 

31. Louisiana Conference Annual, South Central Jurisdiction, 1946, 71. 

32. Ibid., 1947, 82. 

33. Data taken from folder entitled The Louisiana Conference Advance, prepared by Louisiana Conference, 
South Central Jurisdiction, Board of Global Ministries, 1983. 

Chapter IX - United We Stand, 1966-1986 

1. Norma (Mrs. Jack) Winegeart has provided much of the data in this volume on the Woman's Socie- 
ty/United Methodist Women, and on other topics as well. 

2. Louisiana Conference B Journal, 1967, 105-108. 

3. Ibid., 1968, 83. 

4. Ibid., 1970, 4. 

5. Ibid., 1967, 33. 

6. Ibid., 1970, 48-49, 53. 

364 Becoming One People 

7. Ibid., 1970, 61. 

8. Ibid., 1968, 85; 1969, 86-87. 

9. Ibid., 1970, 56. 

10. Ibid., 1971, 251. 

11. Louisiana Conference Journal, 1971, 27-32. 

12. Ibid., 1971, 3-4. 

13. Ibid. 

14. Louisiana Conference B Journal, 1971, 255-256. 

15. Louisiana Conference Journal, 1973, 31. 

16. Ibid., 1972, 204; 1984, 295, Col. 72. 

17. Ibid., 1974, 61. 

18. Ibid., 1986, 137. 

19. Circuit Rider (Nashville: United Methodist Publishing House), Oct.-Dec, 1985, 3. 

20. Louisiana Conference Journal, 1968, 190. 

21. Ibid., 1978, 160-64. 

22. Ibid., 1974, 72-88. 

23. The Book of Discipline, 1984, 336. 

24. United Methodist Reporter, May 31, 1985. 

25. Shreveport-Bossier Times, August 2, 1981; Louisiana Life, September-October, 1984, 67. 

26. Louisiana Conference Journal, 1969, 147; 1970, 119; 1972, 100-104; 1974, 117-19; 1980, 141; 1981, 144. 

27. Louisiana United Methodist, May 2, 1986. 

28. World Outlook, February, 1985, 6. 

29. Data on several persons herein from Who's Who in The Methodist Church (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 
1966), passim. 

30. Louisiana Conference Journal, 1967, 106. 

31. The Louisiana Methodist, July 14, 1960, 4. 

32. Walter N. Vernon, Forever Building, The Life and Ministry of Paul E. Martin (Dallas: SMU Press, 1973), 

33. Ibid., 73. 

34. Paul E. Martin Papers, Bridwell Library, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. 

35. Louisiana Conference Journal, 1973, 28-31. 

36. Minutes of the Board of Publication, United Methodist Church, March 28-29, 1978, 10. 

37. Memorial Service, Council of Bishops, April 23, 1984. 

38. Quoted in The Tampa Tribune, June 1, 1985. 

39. The Shreveport Journal, June 5, 1986. 

40. From a letter written to the author by Elouise Waggaman of Alexandria, Nov. 25, 1984. 

41. Manuscript provided by Deborah Drash. 

42. Louisiana Methodist Reporter, March 22, 1985. 

43. Louisiana Conference Journal, 1972, 123. 

44. Ibid., 1977, 166. 

45. Data provided by Iola Thomas McMillan, Roanoke, Louisiana. 

46. Charles W. Keysor in Arkansas Methodist, August 24, 1978. 

47. Selected Evangelical Resources, North Texas Evangelical Fellowship. 

48. Louisiana Conference Journal, 1972, 98. 

49. Ibid., 1973, 114. 

50. Louisiana Methodist Reporter, March 14, 1986. 

51. Louisiana Conference Journal, 1972, 61. 

52. Open Letter to "Fellow Methodists of Louisiana," from Donald A. Webb, August 10, 1977. 

53. United Methodist Reporter, October 18, 1985, 5. 

54. Louisiana Conference Journal, 1978, 157. 

55. Ibid., 1985, 181. 

56. Ibid., 1959, 81-82; 1962, 86; 1981, 144. 

57. Louisiana Conference A Journal, 1966, 119. 

58. Louisiana Conference Journal, 1985, 233. 

59. Ibid., 1985, 247. 

60. Ibid., 1986, 243. 

61. Louisiana United Methodist, December 14, 1984; October 4, 1985; May 16, 1986. 


Abbey, Richard, 100 
Adams, James L., 302 
Adkinson, L. G., 157 
Adkinson, Mrs. L. G., 179 
Ahrens, J. B. A., 96, 97, 103, 

129, 162 
Ahrens, Mrs. H. H., 230 
Ailes, Mrs., 11 
Ailor, James W., 276 
Albert, A. E. P., 137, 150 
Albert, T. R., 255 
Alexander, B. F., 59, 76, 79, 

Alexander, Robert, 33 
Alexander, Will W., 165, 189, 

Alford, J. A., 224 
Alford, Mrs. J. A., 230 
Alleman, Paul, 256 
Allen, Henry Watkins, 93 
Allen, John H., 331, 333 
Allen, L. Scott, 318, 349 
Alston, Ethel, 259, 291, 293, 

294, 295 
Alston, W. G., 188 
Ames, Edward R., 79, 80 
Anderson, G. M., 335 
Anderson, Marian, 242 
Andress, Will K., 323, 335 
Andrew, James O., 31, 41, 

42, 64, 134 
Andrews, B. H., 197 
Angelica, Mother, 307 
Antoine, Caesar C., 41, 83, 

88, 90, 127 
Antoine, Felix C., 41, 83, 88, 

Armistead, Professor, 95 
Armitage, Vicci, 324 
Armstrong, Walter W., 154, 

Arnold, August, 62 
Asbury, Francis, 1, 2, 4, 17, 

18, 25 
Ashley, J. B., 92 
Atkins, James, 143 
Atkins, John B., Jr., 335 
Atkins, John B., Sr., 269, 270 
Atkinson, C. D., 209 
Attaway, Douglas, 335 
Austin, A. G., 116 
Austin, Stephen F., 34 
Avery, Mildred, 275 
Avery, Mrs. Henry, 56 
Axley, James, 10, 17 
Bailes, Homer, 329 
Bailes, John, 329 
Bailes, Kyle, 329 
Bailes, Walter, 329 
Bailey, Barry, 270, 290, 329, 

330, 349, 351 
Bailey, J. W., 238 
Bailey, Kenneth K., 69 
Baird, A. W., 171 
Baird, Mrs. A. W., 171 
Baker, James E., 253 
Baker, Mr., 11 
Baker, Mrs. M. H., 215 
Baker, N. H., 256 
Baker, Richard H., 311, 315 
Baker, Roberta, 164 
Baldwin, Thomas B., 76 
Banks, Nathaniel, 81 

Bannerman, Sally Moss, 59 
Barksdale, E. J., 239 
Barlow, Lucretia, 19 
Barnes, Nathan, 7, 8 
Barnett, C. A., 205 
Barnette, Chris Thomas, 267, 

269, 312 
Barr, Dan C, 117 
Barrow, William Russell, 335 
Barth, Philip, 97 
Bartlett, Mrs. Mary E., 177, 

199, 324 
Bascom, Henry B., 71 
Bascom, Sylvanus, 11 
Beaird, Charles T., 335 
Beaird, J. Pat, 335 
Beard, Charles, 74 
Beard, Mary, 74 
Beck, Charles H., 149 
Bell, Graham, 90 
Bellamy, John F., 92 
Bengston, W. H., 235 
Benjamin, Walter W., 81, 91 
Benner, Patterson D., 261 
Bennett, W. W., 124 
Bentley, R. M., 239 
Benton, W. H., 153 
Berlin, Ira, 41 
Bernard, A. A., 142 
Bethune, Mary McLeod, 126, 

133, 242, 243 
Bibbons, Jeffery C, 294, 297 
Biedenharn, R. Z., 335 
Biel, Carl, 97 
Biggs, Brother, 11 
Black, Esquire, 11 
Black, M. M., 4 
Black, Warren C, 137, 140 
Blackman, Learner, 7, 8, 9, 

11, 13, 22 
Blair, C. W., 159, 180 
Blakely, William C, 339 
Blanchard, Hubert, 331 
Bland, Cecil, 286, 294 
Bloomquist, Raymond R., 200 
Blount, Forest N., 245 
Boaz, H. A., 233 
Boddie, D. A., 116 
Boddie, D. B., 154, 207 
Boddie, Linda, 289 
Boddie, W. D., viii, 274, 287, 

289, 294, 338 
Boddie, Mrs. W. D., 289 
Boggs, Lindy, 338 
Bohmfolk, 128 
Borden, J. Lane, 95, 130 
Borders, Florence E., viii 
Boswell, John W., 140, 143 
Boucher, Joshua, Jr., 24 
Boudet, Moises, 207 
Boultinghouse, Barbara, 278 
Bowdon, J. Henry, Sr., 226, 

264, 269, 279, 282, 286, 

335, 343 
Bowdon Family, 268, 334 
Bowen, J. W. E., Jr., 110, 

127, 187, 227, 233, 242, 

243, 349 
Bowen, Mrs. J. W. E., Jr., 

203, 217, 257, 258 
Bowen, J. W. E., Sr., 126, 

144, 184 
Bower, Bro., 63 

Bowie, James, 10, 11 
Bowie, Mrs. James, 11 
Bowman, Elisha, 8, 9, 10, 11 
Bowman, James, 11 
Bowne, Borden P., 214 
Braden, John M., 305 
Brady, Sarah H., 324 
Brakeman, N. L., 85, 87 
Bransford, Mrs. L. A., 215 
Branton, Razzie Ray, 294 
Braun, 128 
Brazier, J. S., 188 
Breihan, B. E., 200 
Breithaupt, C. V., 166 
Bremer, Carl, 32, 62 
Brent, Wilson, 335 
Brewer, John, 179 
Brick wedel, Bremer, 62 
Brickwedel, Nicholas, 32, 62 
Bridges, Gerald J., 340 
Briehan, 128 
Brigham, J. Harvey, 99 
Brightman, Edgar S., 214 
Broadley, James E., 77 
Brock, E. L., 245 
Brockman, Francis, 289 
Brooks, H. F., 180 
Brooks, Robert N., 225, 242, 

243, 254 
Brooks, Mrs. Robert N., 254 
Broomfield, John Calvin, 232 
Brown, Allen L., 315 
Brown, Charles Ellis, 335 
Brown, Charles R., 214 
Brown, Ebenezer, 21 
Brown, H. N., 224 
Brown, Ina C, 207 
Brown, John, 64, 72, 114 
Brown, Mrs. C. W. M., 203 
Brown, Paul M., Jr., 219, 269 
Brown, Perry, 335 
Brumfield, Welton H., Jr., ii 
Brumley, R. E., 231 
Brummit, Dan, 204 
Brunson, Carl, 272 
Brunson, Mildred, 272 
Bryan, Irebell E., 93 
Bryan, Mary Elizabeth, 93 
Bryant, J. M., 87 
Bryant, M. T., 116 
Bullock, Henry M., 250 
Bullock, Isaac, 96 
Burch, Fannie E., 312 
Burgess, Roger, 252 
Burke, John, 175 
Burks, Marcus, 327 
Burks, Winn, 327 
Burrus, John C, 34, 40 
Busmann, Gerhard, 62 
Butler, General, 82 
Cable, George W., 124, 126, 

Cadwallader, Charles N., 170 
Cadwallader, Mrs. Charles N., 

170, 262 
Cain, J. H., 279 
Cain, W. Ralph, 265, 274, 

275, 287, 294 
Calhoun, C. A., 230 
Calvin, George W. C, 346, 

Calvin, Mae, 346, 348 



Becoming One People 

Calvin, Richard W., 188, 278, 

290, 342 
Campbell, A. M., 49 
Campbell, J. P., 190 
Campbell, Margaret Wade, 

Camphor, Alexander Priestly, 

119, 127, 157, 170, 184, 189 
Candler, Warren A., 109, 152, 

156, 194 
Cannon, William R., 169 
Canu, Theresa, 12 
Capers, William, 69, 71 
Caraway, Carol, 347 
Caraway, James J., 287, 294, 

304, 346, 347 
Cardenas, Luis Ignacio Maria 

de Penalver y, 5 
Carley, Henry T., 211, 225, 

226, 274 
Carlin, lone, 162 
Carlstrom, T. O., 245 
Carr, B. L., 99 
Carradine, Beverly, 94, 110, 

Carre, Henry Beach, 143, 152, 

153, 159 
Carruth, Nancy, 312, 346, 

347, 348 
Carstarphan, James, 38 
Carter, Briscoe, 197, 228 
Carter, Charles W., 95, 118, 

Carter, George E., 233 
Carter, George W., Jr., 188, 

243, 254, 278 
Carter, Mrs. George W., Jr., 

254, 258 
Carter, J. H., 193, 233 
Carter, Thomas, 94, 143, 160, 

191, 228 
Cartwright, Dr., 67 
Cartwright, Peter, 17, 18, 67 
Caruth, Mr., 11 
Cavanaugh, A. B., 245 
Cayard, Edgar E., 239 
Cayard, Mrs. E., 206 
Chambers, Curtis A., viii, 

307, 309 
Chase, W. F., 224 
Childress, W. Lomax, 147 
Chinn, Scott, 65, 70, 87, 126 
Chinn, Walter Scott, 126, 157, 

174, 176, 188, 254, 255 
Chrisentery, Inez, ii, 257, 327 
Christie, James E., viii, 265, 

Church, E. J., 147 
Claiborne, W. C. C, 6, 8 
Clair, Matthew W., Jr., 170, 

Clair, Mrs. M. W., 188 
Clark, Clyde S., 287, 294, 316 
Clark, Daniel, 93 
Clark, Elmer T., 211 
Clarke, W. B., 231 
Clayton, R. L., Sr., 282 
Clegg, Baxter, 59 
Clifford, T. B., 130 
Cline, Pierce, 197, 218, 343 
Clinton, Thomas, 32 
Cobb, James E., 110, 111 
Cobb, Rosie Ann, 278, 342 
Coke, Thomas, 1 
Coleman, W. H., 166, 209 
Coleman, Wesley, 11 
Collins, Albert A., 10, 246 

Collins, Mrs. S. M., 201 
Colquette, Richard, viii 
Colquette, Mrs. Richard, viii 
Compton, Mrs. Robert, 326, 

Conerly, Alexander, 150 
Conklin, Paul K., 142, 143 
Constant, Mrs. Warren, 261 
Cook, Fern, 324 
Cook, Mrs. Nettie Mae, 324 
Cook, Samuel DuBois, 313, 

331, 336, 337, 343, 347 
Cooke, Jack, ii, 287, 294 
Cooke, R. Leonard, 247, 294 
Cooksey, John, 346, 347, 348 
Cope, Henry, 152 
Copeland, Kenneth W., 169 
Copeland, Theodore, 154 
Copher, Charles B., 253, 271 
Cotton, W. D., 251, 267, 312, 

Cotton-Winn, Carole, 323 
Cranston, Earl, 144 
Cravens, N. A., 61, 68, 80 
Crawford, J. H., 116 
Crenshaw, W. H., 44, 68 
Crockett, J. W., 62 
Crowson, Richard M., 75 
Crumley, Howard, 335 
Crutchfield, Finis A., viii, 

169, 297, 317, 318, 320, 

326, 336, 343 
Cummings, David B., 330 
Cunninggim, Jesse L., 152 
Cunningham Family, 176 
Curry, 62 
Curtis, Mr., 102 
Curtis, William M., 26, 47, 49 
Cushman, Lewis P., 137 
Daily, Georgia, 275, 286, 329, 

Dameron, G. W., 197, 209, 

215, 265 
Dameron, Mrs. G. W., 261, 

263, 289 
Daniels, Hubbardine, 208 
Daughenbaugh, Howard L., 

Jr., 265 
Daughenbaugh, Howard, Sr., 

287, 315 
Davage, M. S., viii, 151, 157, 

182, 188, 228, 231, 233, 

254, 272 
Davage, Mrs. M. S., 188, 228 
Davage, Samuel, 87, 90, 110, 

127, 151 
Daves, Fay L., 278 
Daves, Joel Thomas, 75 
Davies, S. J., 50 
Davis, A. E., 293 
Davis, Ella, 61 
Davis, Jimmie H., 311 
Davis, Lyman Edwin, 149 
Davis, Mrs. Mary, 61 
Davis, Ozora S., 152 
Davis, Wadsworth, 343 
Dawson, Dana, Jr., 238, 239, 

281, 335 
Dawson, Dana, Sr., 233, 238, 

239, 241, 349 
Dawson, Mrs. Dana, Sr., 238 
Dawson, Judge, 11 
Dean, Garland C, 294 
Decell, J. Lloyd, 225, 226, 

Dent, A. W., 271, 313, 331 
Deschner, 128 

Deschner, Phil, 200 
Dew, Jack, 328 
Dezendorf, Gay, 324 
DeMille, Cecil B., 126 
DeVinne, Daniel, 21, 23, 25, 

Dieffenwierth, Philip H., 180 
Dillard, James Hardy, 216 
Diossy, Richard K., 87 
Dixon, John Allen, 240, 241, 

Dobbs, Hoyt M., 184, 187, 

189, 221, 316 
Dockery, S. H., 92 
Dodd, James B., viii, 36, 37, 

60, 95 
Doland, Jack, 314 
Doss, W. L., 279 
Doty, William E., 49, 59, 76, 

Douglas, Luman E., 239, 286, 

287, 294 
Dow, Lorenzo, vi, 6, 7, 8, 11, 

16, 26, 28, 345 
Dowdell, Elizabeth Caroline, 

Dowdell, Silas Charles, 134 
Dowling, Angus, 102 
Downs, J. R., 199, 224, 273 
Downs, Karl, 259 
Downs, Marion, 259 
Doyle, Judith, 278 
Drake, Benjamin M., 3, 13, 

23, 24, 26, 29, 32, 34, 41, 

43, 95 
Drake, Marlin W., Sr., 269, 

Drake, William W., 60, 215, 

Drash, Deborah, 133, 325 
Dromgoole, Edward, Sr., 24 
Dudley, Mrs. Forrest E., 258 
Duff, Mary Ann Dyke, 94 
Dunbar, Mrs. Sam, 261 
Dunbar, Paul Lawrence, 183 
Duncan, W. W., 108 
Dunshie Family, 176 
Duren, W. L., 154, 197, 207, 

225, 226, 230, 233, 274 
Duren, Mrs. W. L., 230 
Dutch, Joseph, 63 
DuBois, Mrs. Virginia E., 59 
DuBose, Horace M., 2, 97, 

Dykes, D. L., Jr., 238, 304, 

307, 335, 351 
Early, Alonzo, 166 
Echols, Timothy B., 253, 263 
Ecker, Ira C, 269 
Eckley, Mrs. L. E., 188 
Edwards, Conrad, 341 
Elam, Mrs. Mollie Stuart, 59 
Eleazer, Robert B., 274 
Elliott, Charles, 67 
Ellzey, Howard D., 245 
Elston, Gretchen, 261 
Emerson, G. W., 256 
Emler, Donald G., 331, 335 
Emmerich, Earl B., 265, 286 
Emory, John, 31 
English, James, 89 
Ennis, David, 87 
Evans, Jack, 38 
Ezell, Harry, 272, 275, 277, 

Fairchild, Mrs. S. J., 261 
Faulk, Roland W., 245 

Index of Surnames 


Faulk, William, 69 
Felder, M. D., 245 
Felsing, William, 96 
Fitzgerald, O. P., 107 
Fletcher, Enos, 38 
Flint, John D., 158 
Flood, Jennie, 275 
Floyd, Moses, 4, 10, 11 
Flude, David, 327 
Fly, Anderson B., 76 
Fontaine, J. T., 76 
Forbes, William, 172 
Ford, J. M., 99 
Ford, James, 38, 99 
Ford, Washington, 35 
Fosdick, Harry Emerson, 210 
Foster, John F., 225 
Foster, R. S., 124 
Foster, W. D., 83 
Foster, W. H., 95, 117 
Fowler, Littleton, 33 
Fox, Bettie Rea, 263 
Frank, Eugene, 241 
Franklin, J. M., 92 
Franklin, John Hope, 78 
Fraser, William, 270 
Frazee, Henry B., 76 
Frazier, Clyde C, Jr., ii, 239 
Freeman, F. M., 269 
Freeman, Mrs. Mary, 269 
French, Mrs. Robert, 239 
Friend, William B., 310 
Frost, Wade H., 75 
Fulkerson, M. D., 208 
Fulkerson, Maurice, 245 
Fullilove, Mrs. T. P., 132, 134 
Fullilove, W. Crawford, Jr., 

Fulton, Mrs. J. B., 201 
Gaffney, Mrs. F. P., 152 
Gaines, Myra Clark, 93 
Galloway, B. A., 279, 338 
Galloway, Charles B., 24, 107, 

110, 123, 137, 139 
Galloway, Paul V., 319, 320 
Gant, Eliza, 100 
Garcia, Joaquin, 331 
Gardner, James C, Sr., 335 
Gardner, Mr., 173 
Gardner, Mrs. Wiley B., 251 
Garison, Carolyn, viii, 282, 

Garraghan, Gilbert J., 5 
Garrett, John Sidney, 311 
Gaskill, A. D., 49 
Gay, Josephine, 208 
Gay, Mrs., 57 
Genovese, Eugene D., 70 
George, Enoch, 12 
Gerhart, Lydia, 261 
Giambruno, Giovanni B., 128 
Gibbs, Hubert A., 264 
Gibson, Tobias, 2, 3, 4, 7 
Gilbert, John Wesley, 148 
Gilbert, Lawrence, 263 
Gillespie, C. C, 62, 69, 73, 

Gilmer, Mrs. Elmer, 126 
Gleeson, Mr., 11 
Glover, T. R., 214 
Godbold, Albea, 178 
Golden, Charles F., 243, 258 
Goldsmith, George Madison, 

Goldthwait, Mrs. Charles, 261 
Goodloe, H., 99 

Goodrich, Mrs. Robert E., 

Sr., 215 
Goodrich, Robert E., Jr., 169, 

241, 252, 320, 349 
Goodwyn, A. E., 99 
Goodwyn, Jack, 87 
Goodwyn, P. M., 50, 56 
Gore, Charles, 214 
Graham, James, 330 
Grambling, James B., 206, 

247, 301 
Grant, U. S., 126 
Gray, Thomas, 15 
Grayson, Sam B., 335 
Greaves, Peyton S., 19, 20, 

41, 63 
Green, Henry, 65, 70, 87 
Green, Seth, 114 
Green, Stephen, 112 
Greene, Clarence O., 255, 338 
Greene, Mrs. Clarence O., 338 
Greer, J. M., 116 
Griffin, Thomas, 18, 23 
Griffing, Hannah, 10, 11 
Griffing Family, 10 
Gulley, Parson, 96 
Gunn, Elmer C, 197, 215, 

224, 230, 235, 279 
Gunn, Mrs. Elmer C, 215 
Guthrie, Elizabeth, 180 
Guthrie, Martin, 180 
Hagens, Paul, 307 
Hall, H. G., 93, 99 
Hallquist, Robert N., 296 
Hamill, H. M., 165 
Hamill, Mrs. H. M., 165 
Hamilton, J. Wallace, 270 
Hamilton, Jefferson, 33, 38, 

61, 95, 102 
Hamilton, John, 323 
Hamline, L. L., 42 
Hammett, Lois, 163 
Hammond, E. W. S., 137 
Hammond, Ester L., 347 
Hancock, Alton O., ii, iii, ix, 

331, 343 
Hancock, David, 285 
Handlin, Oscar, 129 
Handy, W. T., Jr., ii, v, vii, 

viii, 254, 255, 271, 282, 290, 

294, 318, 319, 320, 323, 
338, 343, 344, 346, 349 

Handy, William Talbot, Sr., 

110, 180, 181, 188, 228, 

254, 273, 278, 290, 294, 

343, 344, 349 
Hanna, Bill, 307 
Harbour, Adonijab, 6 
Harbuck, George, 335 
Hargrove, R. H., 270 
Harmon, John W., 54, 93 
Harmon, Nolan B., Jr., 93, 

109, 133, 155 
Harmon, Nolan B., Sr., 4, 

Harp, R. J., 46, 47, 75, 91, 

94, 103, 177 
Harper, J. D., 174, 191 
Harper, J. W., 85, 116 
Harper, Jolly B., viii, 224, 

239, 274, 275, 285, 294, 

295, 316, 332, 349 
Harper, Miles, 12, 14, 20 
Harper, R. H., 110, 130, 143, 

174, 191, 197, 207, 225, 

226, 227, 235, 238, 282 

Harper, William, 90, 127 

Harrell, Costen J., 191 
Harrell, R. H., 278 
Harrington, Robert F., 181, 

255, 293, 294, 297, 307, 

309, 342, 343, 347 
Harris, James T., 239, 335 
Harris, T. R. W., 255 
Harrison, Chapman J., 294 
Harrison, Ephraim, 112 
Harrison, J. F., 92 
Harrison, Mrs. H. N., 230 
Harrison, O. D., Sr., 335 
Hart, Janice, 346, 348 
Hartzell, J. C, 40, 69, 90, 94, 

108, 134, 137, 138, 140, 349 
Hartzell, Mrs. J. C, 90, 131, 

134, 328 
Haug, E. R., 224 
Haug, Mrs. Edward R., viii 
Haughton, L. D., 276 
Haughton, Mrs. L. D., 276 
Haven, Gilbert, 104 
Hawkins, H. G., 4 
Hawkins, Mrs. Arlene C, 239 
Hayes, Edna Ruth, 275 
Hayes, Mrs. Margaret White, 

Hayes, Robert B., 188 
Hayes, Rutherford B., 107 
Haygood, Atticus G., 91, 107, 

Haynes, L. L., Jr., 255, 281, 

290, 294, 314, 332 
Haynes, William Arch, 270 
Hayward, G. C, 188 
Hayward, Issac, 87 
Hayward, James, 87 
Head, W. H., 116 
Hearn, Anne C, ii 
Hearn, J. Woodrow, 251, 293, 

294, 303, 304, 309, 319, 

320, 347, 349, 351 
Hearn, Lafcadio, 126 
Hearn, O. R., 116 
Hearne, Elijah, 85 
Hearne, John W., 75 
Heath, Edward, 90 
Hebert, Martin, 162, 174, 179, 

193, 245 
Hebert, Mrs. Martin, 229, 230 
Hebert, Richard, 294 
Hebert, W. B., 190 
Helmick, A. S., Ill 
Henderson, Cleonis, 256 
Hendricks, Lillie J., 275 
Hendrix, Eugene, 144, 145 
Henning, John, 50 
Henning, Mrs. John, 51 
Henry, Edith Grace, 208 
Henry, Mrs. J. M., 209 
Henry, W. M., 85, 87 
Hereford, John S., 255, 286 
Herring, Dr., 85 
Hester, Ann, 133 
Hewitt, Ashley, 19, 21, 26 
Hickerson, J. M. P., 85, 116, 

Hicks, Bess, 261 
Hicks, Guy M., 193, 207, 235, 

238, 239 
Hill, F. B., 146 
Hill, Richard, 304 
Hill, Robert D., 254 
Hinata, Yuki, 207 
Hines, G. B., 146 
Hinton, Don, 285 
Hobbs, Lewis, 12, 18 


Becoming One People 

Hodge, Charles W., 75 
Hodges, A. J., Sr., 335 
Hofer, J. M„ 47, 62, 63 
Hoffman, T. H., 147 
Hoffpauir, Louis, 197 
Hoffpauir, Mrs. Richard, 327 
Holberg, Charles J., 76 
Holcombe, A. R., 95 
Holder, Ray, 14, 71 
Holland, C. O., 193, 197, 

205, 231, 233, 235, 238, 267 
Holley, Bonnie Ruth, 324 
Holloman, T. W., 193, 205 
Holmes, W. S., 193, 205 
Holmes, W. W., 193, 197, 

215, 230, 233, 235, 238, 282 
Holmes, Mrs. W. W., 215, 

Holsey, L. H., Ill 
Holt, A. P., 154 
Holt, Ivan Lee, 169 
Hood, Harbord, 1 1 
Hook, Emmett R., 335 
Hook, General, 11 
Hooper, Ella K., 163, 275, 

Hooper, Wilhelmina, 272, 328 
Hooten, Caradine, 249 
Hooter, Mike, 16 
Hoover, Herbert C, 187 
Hoover, Theressa, 258 
Hord, Jesse, 33 
Hoss, E. E., 121, 143, 152, 

155, 159 
Houghton, Benjamin A., 43 
House, George Walter, 50 
Houston, Anthony, 17 
Houston, David, 116 
Howell, H. R., 215 
Howell, R. P., 146 
Huff, J. D., 230 
Huffman, C, 215 
Hughes, W. A. C, 242 
Hughes, William J., Jr., 304 
Humphreys, J. T., 116 
Hunnicutt, W. L., 130 
Hutchinson, Paul, 169 
Hyde, Mrs. Mary, 26 
lies, Eliza, 163 
Ivey, J. A., 52, 60 
Jackson, Andrew, 13, 18 
Jackson, Douglas E., 285, 331 
Jackson, H. G., 85, 87 
Jackson, Irma Green, 257, 314 
Jackson, Jessie Louise, 272 
James, B., 215 
James, Floyd B., 195, 197, 

207, 238, 239, 247 
James, G. W., 335 
James, John T., 157 
James, T. L., 193, 194, 195, 

197, 233, 235, 270, 276, 277 
Jamieson, R. H., 239 
Jamison, Hugh, 167 
Janes, Edmund S., 31 
Jefferson, Thomas, 49 
Jeffery, Mrs. Glenn, 294 
Johns, H. L., 230, 233, 238, 

239, 343 
Johns, H. S., 224 
Johnson, Andrew, 80 
Johnson, Carlton, 285 
Johnson, Crates S., 149 
Johnson, George Washington, 

63, 85 
Johnson, L. M., 255 
Johnson, Mrs. Ada, 324 

Johnson, Mrs. Lauretta C, 

Johnson, T. L., 233, 235 
Johnson, William, 90 
Johnston, Helen, 164 
Johnston Family, 176 
Jones, C. L, 170 
Jones, Mrs. C. I., 239, 262 
Jones, David D., 231 
Jones, E. Stanley, 214 
Jones, J. W., 38 
Jones, John G., 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 

12, 15, 16, 20, 23, 25, 27, 

31, 35, 40, 43, 45, 63 
Jones, Mrs. Joseph, 134 
Jones, Patti, 294 
Jones, Robert Elijah, 144, 

170, 181, 188, 224, 231, 

235, 242, 243, 253, 257, 272 
Jones, Mrs. Robert Elijah, 

Jones, Sam, 103, 122 
Jones, Sam Houston, 227, 

289, 311, 335 
Jones, Mrs. Sam Houston, 227 
Jordan, J. Luther, Jr., 303, 

Jordan, John, 49 
Jordan, Joseph H., 99 
Joyner, Lea, 245, 324, 325, 

349, 351 
Joyner, N. E., 163 
Kauss, Theodore R., 335 
Keener, Christian, 109, 110, 

Keener, John Christian, 47, 

48, 50, 59, 62, 76, 79, 91, 

94, 95, 102, 103, 109, 119, 

130, 132, 137, 139, 141, 155 
Keener, Samuel S., 109, 179